Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported the trout have scattered out, but trollers are picking up rainbows and crappie while trolling near the Big Island.
The Best Bass Tournaments brought their road show to New Melones on Saturday, and 68 boats participated in the event won by the team of Bill and Mike Goodman with a 27.78-pound limit including a 10.04-pound kicker.
There has been a consistent scattering of big fish, and John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service was on the lake on Sunday for a half-day trip, and he said, “It was tougher today than it has been, but the fish have been biting in the wind and the rain. We were out on Friday, and although the majority of our larger fish came on finesse techniques of plastics on a shakey head or drop-shot, we did catch a few fish on glide baits and swimbaits. We caught and released spots to 7 pounds working the bottom at 15 to 25 feet on Friday as part of a limit pushing 23 pounds, but the fish pulled back out into deep water on Sunday as it was icy in Angels Camp in the morning. The good news is that the lake is coming back up once again, and I hope it stays high for a month or so as we are one week away from the bite busting loose. After we get through this week’s storms, the weather should stabilize, bringing the bass back into the shallows.”
Beau Coutroul of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company reported an excellent bass bite from the shorelines with one of his friends posting a 22-pound plus limit on Saturday tossing Brush Hogs on a Carolina-rig.
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits confirmed the return of SWaver bite that he had experienced over a week ago with the top weights during the Best Bass Tournaments landed on the River2Sea bait.
Trout fishing remains fair at best, but the net pens from Kokanee Power will be released in April with some quality fish getting larger every day. Crappie are starting to show near structure, but the best action is still weeks away.
New Melones is at 80 percent between inflow and outflow.
Lake McSwain continues to be a pleasant surprise for planted rainbows within the past month, and this week was no exception with trout to 8 pounds reported. Plants from the Calaveras Trout Farm and the Department of Fish and Wildlife have created enthusiasm for bank fishermen along with trollers in the full body of water.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “There as a plant of big fish to 8 pounds once again this week, and the amount of big fish we have received has been incredible. We have never seen it like this here, and we are close to full in the campgrounds starting in early April for the remainder of the summer. Bank anglers are focusing around the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, and along the peninsula near the marina with live minnows, silver/blue Kastmasters, nightcrawlers, and trout dough bait in lime green or pink sherbert. There have been several rainbows in the 2- to 7-pound range brought in this week, and both the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Calaveras Trout Farm are putting in big fish. Around 70 percent of our fishermen are on the shorelines, but there have been a number of boats trolling in the river arm with silver/blue Kastmasters, Speedy Shiners, or Rapalas. The weather this week has kind of put a damper on the number of fishermen, but they are still catching fish out there.”
The annual Merced Irrigation Trout Derby is April 7/8 with registration forms available at http://lakemcclure.org/LakeMcClure/assets/File/Lake%20McSwain%20Spring%20Derby%202018%20Entry%20Form-1.pdf.
The annual derby will feature 50 tagged fish including $2000 for tag # 1, $1000 for tag #2, and $500 for tag #3 with tags 4 through 50 sharing equally from the prize pool. The largest trout is worth $200, and if the grand prize is not claimed during the event, it will be worth $500 to derby participants after the derby. Registration closes on April 4.
Don Pedro Reservoir is a far cry from last year when the spillway had to be opened to keep the reservoir from going over the dam, limiting access to the lake for several weeks to the Blue Oaks launch ramp. The lake remains relatively high at 84 percent, and bass are taking center stage with the lake of trout and salmon showing up.
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits fished the NewJen Bass Tournaments on Saturday, and he said, “It was excellent for some and tough for others. It was tough for us as we ended up with an 11.91-pound limit, good enough for 15th place. We started out with reaction baits, but we found nothing before switching over to the Berserk Purple Hornet jig, and the bass in the 2- to 2.5-pound range were all over it. The underspin by Fatty Worm and the Pro Worm 124p on the drop-shot were also effective for numbers, but we were looking for a larger grade. Our best action was at 25 to 40 feet with some fish shallow in the mornings before moving out in the afternoon. The larger bass in the tournament were found on swimbaits.”
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “We were out on the lake this week in perfect conditions for big fish as the day before a hurricane-like cold storm swept through the area, and the air was cold and chilling to the bone although the valley was clear with blue skies. We chose to alternate between large swimbaits and finesse-style soft plastics to try and coax a giant into biting. After my fishing partner got hung up in the rocks, we brought the boat close to free the line, and once it was freed, he felt at tug on his line and set the hook with his bare hands. We figured it was a small fish based on the way it was hooked, but when we caught a glimpse of it, it was a big one. While trying to find the net in the excitement of the moment, the line broke in his hands, leading to a long scream of ‘NO!’ Experience can ensure you are fishing around fish. A good cast and lure presentation should get them to bite. But, every once in a while, things do not go as planned, and when this happens, you are at the mercy of the moment, just hoping it all works out. Somedays, it does and others it doesn’t. It’s all the luck of the draw. On this occasion we missed the opportunity to catch a giant fish that under different circumstances, would have been very rewarding.”
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing will be back on the lake on Monday morning trolling for rainbow trout as he received an encouraging report of one boat with four rainbows in the box with two others lost while trolling at 50 feet.
The Lake Amador Resort released 1000 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbow trout on Friday as part of 1500 pounds for the week. Trout dough bait continues to be the top offering from the shoreline will trollers are pulling broken-backed Rapalas at 5 to 7 feet in depth. The best trolling action is in the back of the lake near Mountain Springs, Rock Creek, and the Jackson Creek arm with shore fishing best at the dam, the spillway, and the Blue Docks. The lake has risen to only 3 feet from spilling, and it is anticipated to start going over the spillway with this next storm. The Nor Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge will arrive on April 24th.
Trout plants continue with 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows released at the North Shore launch ramp this past week. Shore fishing and trolling around the North Shore has been excellent with the recent plant, and a total of 3600 pounds will be released this week prior to Easter Week. Trout dough bait and Kastmasters are the top offerings from the shoreline. Prior to the cold front, bass have been found at depths from 15 to 20 feet with yellow/brown crankbaits or umbrella rigs, but the action slowed down over the weekend with the bass backing off into deeper water in response to the cold weather. The lake rose slightly to 73 percent.
With the large tournaments at Don Pedro and New Melones over the past two weekends, few bass fishermen have been targeting McClure, but the crappie are starting to show up near structure with live minnows or minijigs. The bulk of the action has yet to come, but there are crappie trickling in with anglers from as far away as Fresno starting to show up. Bass fishing is best with finesse techniques with plastics on the Ned rig or drop-shot at depths from 40 to 60 feet along with live minnows. The lake rose to percent.
Trout plants continue with 1000 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbows released every Friday along with a bonus plant of 750 pounds from the Department of Fish and Wildlife this past week. Trollers are scoring in the river arm and along the main dam in the south part of the lake with grubs or with kokanee gear. The kokanee have yet to show in appreciable numbers, but this hasn’t stopped anglers from trying. Bank fishing is best around the launch cove and near the Spillway with trout dough bait, Kastmasters, or nightcrawlers. Bass fishing has been slow in the cold water. The lake rose to 95 percent.
San Luis Reservoir
San Luis Reservoir continues to kick out striped bass from the shorelines in the mornings and evenings although the recent weather fronts have driven the linesides near the bottom during the day.
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The stripers are holding on the bottom, and trollers are pulling Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, and flukes around a foot off of the bottom as the fish are holding deep. Live minnows are still popular, and one angler caught his personal-best striper at 30 pounds fly-lining a jumbo minnow. This was the only bite he got all day long, but it was a huge bass.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said, “The trolling bite has slowed a lot since the weather fronts started coming through. The fish are moving into new areas and the Lone Oak flats seem to have slowed down. The water is super clear – we could see down almost 15 feet, and this is affecting the fishing as well as a water temp of 57 degrees, the lowest this winter. On my second Downrigging 101 class this past Saturday, when we got around to actually fishing the downriggers, the bite was very tough in the light misting rain preceding the storm later that evening. It was a classic prefrontal shutdown. We tried everything , releasing over 12 fish, mostly small, with a few to 22 inches. Some guys were getting a few nice fish ripping the shores that morning. The next Downrigging 101 on the water class, will be in two weeks. Info at 559-905-2954.”
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Shore anglers are throwing ripbaits such as Lucky Craft Pointers or Mega Bass for stripers in the 3- to 5-pound range.”
In the O’Neill Forebay, Clements touted this location has a solid place to put children onto shaker striped bass with bait as the linesides to 15 inches are plentiful.
The lake is rising once again, and it is at 81 percent.
Eastman Lake has been the epicenter of largemouth bass fishing in the Central Valley, and interest in the lake remains high. The cold fronts moving through the valley have created more challenging conditions for big fish, but there are still quality largemouths to be had.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The fronts have slowed down the number of big limits, but there are still decent fish being caught with most everything on the bottom with worms, jigs, or Senkos from 15 to 20 feet. Most fishermen are working around the dam with a few spots up the river arm. I have spoken with at least 20 boats that were heading up there today. A few large bass have been taken on swimbaits.”
The Mid-Valley Bass Club will host the 2018 Kid’s Fishing Day at Eastman Lake on April 7, providing a free day of fishing and fun for children 15 years and under. Fishing experts will be on-hand to teach kids the basics of baiting, casting and reeling in the big one, and along with fishing, there will be a casting contest, a special appearance by Bobby the Water Safety Dog, a professional DJ, and lots of games, fun, and door prizes.
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. at the Chowchilla Recreation Area Pavilion. Fishing will run until 11:30 a.m. and the festivities will continue into the afternoon. Guests with their own fishing poles are encouraged to bring them; the park staff will hand out loaner fishing poles, but supplies are limited. Individuals 16 years old or older must have a valid fishing license. For questions relating to this event you may speak with an Eastman Lake park ranger at 559-689-3255 or via email email@example.com.
Eastman has risen to 63 percent.
Pine Flat has been the focus for several local bass tournaments in the past few months, and in addition to the bass action, rainbow trout and crappie are available.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Most of our crappie fishermen have been heading to Pine Flat, and the best action has been around Trimmer and Rattlesnake Creek with a variety of lures such as Crappie Stingers, Strike King Mr. Crappie, and Bobby Garland’s as we sold gear to at least 60 anglers heading to Pine Flat on Saturday. There have been some picking up 25 fish limits of small- to medium-sized slabs.”
For bass, Gilbert reported that one good angler was out for a half-day trip, and he caught and released 20 bass in the 13- to 14-inch range with as many largemouth bass as spotted bass working the bottom with plastics from 30 to 40 feet around Windy Gap.
Trout fishing is also decent with trollers able to scratch out limits to 15 inches running Cop Car Needlefish, Apex lures, Rainbow Runners, or ExCels in shad-patterns from 15 to 20 feet from the Power Lines to the Pine Flat Lake Resort. The lake rose to 55 percent.
In the lower Kings River below the dam, trout plants continue on a weekly basis.