Quail Point Hunting Club and Sporting Clays

March 20, 2017    Headlines

Foothill & Mountain Lakes

Lake Camanche

Trout plants continue at Lake Camanche with 600 pounds released at both the North Shore and South Shore launch ramps this weeks, but crappie and bass remain the most consistent species with the warming water.

Nick Stepp of Herald landed a huge 3.88-pound crappie while targeting largemouth bass with a swimbait along the North Shore, and this is the largest crappie at the lake so far this year.

Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “My brother Ron was at the lake on Saturday, and they caught 40 crappie and 30 bass to 7.5 pounds with the fish right on the banks. They are already on beds, and he used weightless Senkos for the bass and small shad-patterned flukes with a split tail for the crappie. The trout fishermen are complaining that they are catching more crappie than rainbows while trolling.”

A regular Camanche fishing family took their weekly trolling trip on Saturday, and they hooked up with a rainbow early in the morning before settling for nothing but crappie after this pulling grubs or Rapalas. After not locating any additional rainbows, they pulled up stakes at noon and went to Lake Pardee for limits of rainbows using grubs.”

A few trout have been taken off of the North Shore with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers.  The water has receded to the point where gasoline is once available at the North Shore Marina. The lake dropped 3 feet this week to 223.53 feet in elevation and 80 percent, and it is actively releasing water downstream into the Mokelumne River.

Lake Amador:
Lake Amador hosted the third stop on the Nor Cal Trout Anglers Challenge on Saturday, and the shorelines were inundated with fishermen seeking cash, prizes, and bragging rights for the largest rainbow trout. 1800 pounds of Lightning trout were added to the lake prior to the event along with another 1000 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows. The Lightning trout are a triploid that are devoid of pigment with the exception of the bright red line indicative of a rainbow trout. Fishermen who landed the Lightning trout reported a hard-fighting fish for their overall size.
Lori Lockhart of the Lake Amador Company said, “It was like tuna fish in the can around here on Saturday, and it seemed like everyone landed a few trout with several returning with limits. The best trout action has been for trollers working in the back of the lake in the Jackson, Rock, or Carson Creek arms with Rapalas. The fish are in the top 15 feet of the surface, and the lake has cleared up significantly. The bass are already spawning in Cat Cove and the Mountain Springs arm, and there have been largemouth bass just under 10 pounds caught and released this week. Baby Brush Hogs, 4-inch purple with metal flakes, or red-bellied buzzbaits are working along main lake points. When the trees begin to bud, the bass are on the beds.”

‘Lunker’ Larry Hemphill of Hemphill’s Guide Service said, “I was at the lake for a few hours on Thursday afternoon, and I saw a few bass on the beds already. I caught three males in the 2.5-pound range, and lost a female around 3.5 pounds. Just before dark, I had a great hit and fought this bass for a minute or two before landing a 4-pound male. I thought it was a good female. There is a fair amount of debris in the water, but they have collected and roped off the majority of debris near the dam. The water visibility ranges from 1.5 to 2 feet. It is still very stained, but it is not muddy anymore.”

Crappie are also making a showing, and Lockhart said, “I would expect them to come under the docks in droves within the next seven days. Small minnows or white crappie jigs are best. Catfish in excess of 10 pounds are coming into the shallows, and the best is yet to come for whiskerfish.

Don Pedro:

Don Pedro is heating up for both bass and rainbow trout despite steadily dropping in elevation to accommodate the massive amount of snowmelt anticipated in the coming weeks.
The bass bite has been outstanding with Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford finding great action on two trips this past week. He fished the 1790 Club tournament on Saturday for a 12-pound limit, stating, “ The winning weight was 21 pounds plus and you have to weigh in over 17 pounds to be in the money. I found better action early in the week for a 19-pound limit working the River2Sea Swaver, and although my limit was much less on Saturday, the numbers have been excellent. You have to locate the fish as they are in various depths, but I found all of my fish in the top 5 feet of the water column. My brother Victor was throwing weightless Senkos up on the bank and the fish were hitting the bait as soon as it was brought back into the water. I am shocked how good the bite is right now, and the Berserk Purple Hornet jig as well as Pro Worms in 124p or 300 are both working. There is also a good crappie bite with small minnows. The water warmed up from the 60-degree range earlier in the week to 66 degrees by Friday, and the lake dropped at least 10 feet in the past week. The fish have moved off of the main points, and they are holding around secondary depths.”
onte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “Don Pedro water levels continue to drop in anticipation of the spring melt. The lake elevation as of today was 813.00 feet and 830.00 is full pool, I have read that they will slow releases down when the level hits 801.00 feet. When the lake stabilizes the fishing should be great. The water is warming fast to around the 60-degree mark. Trout fishing continues to be up and down, but there are some quality rainbows being caught. A friend of mine Sam Lage of Concord fished the lake Friday and Saturday, and although he found tough conditions he still managed fish. Saturday was a better day seven trout to 21 inches, weighing three and a half pounds. Speedy shiners on lead core line and Shasta Tackle’s Cripplures behind Mack's Sling Blades on the downriggers at 20 feet deep were the top set up. If I were on the water I would still run my custom made spoons on leadcore along with Rapalas on side planners. When you run lures such as this at a fast speed, you can cover more water and generally find fish faster.
The State Route 120/James E. Roberts Bridge is scheduled to be closed through the morning of Monday, March 27. Following the 24/7 closure, the bridge will be closed a few additional nights for the removal of material and equipment.
The lake has dropped 6 feet this week to 813.39 feet in elevation and 90 percent. Water releases will continue to get the lake as low as possible, but the releases must be managed slowly in order to avoid flooding in the Modesto area. The Bonds Flat Road will remain closed indefinitely as the spillway may be opened once again.
Updated information on the lake’s status is available at

New Hogan:
he water is clearing up slowly, and water releases down the Calaveras River have slowed down with the lake holding at 62 percent. Striped bass action should heat up once the water clears up enough to troll anchovies, shad, or sardines on a harness rig, Hogan is one of the only lakes with a self-sustaining population of striped bass.

Lake McClure:

The Best Bass Tournaments hosted 72 boats on Saturday for their Mother Lode Circuit with a winning weight of over 22 pounds. Tournament director Kevin Cheek reported all of the largest fish were taken on underspins, Senkos, or A-rigs, Texas-rig or drop-shot plastics were also effective for numbers with the fish holding in the top 5 feet of the water column. There is a good crappie bite with small minnows or minjigs. The water is clearing up quickly, and the lake has dropped to 74 percent. Water releases are directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as the lake has exceeded 67 percent of capacity as the lake continues to release water down the Merced River.The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.

Lake Pardee:
Another 3000 pounds of rainbow trout in the 1.5 to 2-lb. range wer released into the lake this week, and the rainbows are starting to move into the main reservoir. The area just outside of the entrance near the buoys has been a good location for trolling as the fish are transitioning from planting into the main lake. There is a good bass bite with Keitech swimbaits in kokanee colors since there are plenty of small kokanee currently in the lake. Bank fishing is best near the Stony Creek spillway and landed with scented trough dough bait or nightcrawlers. A total of 45,000 pounds of rainbows will be released into the lake through early June. The water in the Mokelumne River arm is starting to clear up. Pardee has dropped to 95 percent.

New Melones:
he lake rose to 71percent, and all launch ramps in the lake are now open. The rainbow trout are moving into the creek channels and up the river arm, and trollers are scoring near the surface with Speedy Shiners, Kastmasters, and Rapalas. The bass are scattered at various depths from deep water to the shallows depending upon the time of day, and there is a window for reaction baits such as River2Sea SWavers or chatterbaits. Weedless plastics on a Texas, Carolina, or drop-shot rig are most effective for numbers. Bank fishing is fair with trout dough bait combined with a nightcrawler, but a long leader is necessary to stay above the grass and vegetation.  Crappie fishing has improved near submerged timber in the coves with live minnows, and catfishing is best with a scented ball of nightcrawlers in the lake’s inlets. 

Pine Flat, Millerton, Eastman, and Hensley:
The Central Valley lakes of Pine Flat and Millerton have been fairly consistent for spotted bass throughout the winter, but now Eastman and Hensley Reservoirs are also getting in on the act for largemouth bass for the first time in months with an improved reaction bite at all lakes in the region. 
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Pine Flat is seeing the most interest, but the other lakes are also producing. The bass bite is consistent at Pine Flat with A-rigs, underspins, or weightless Senkos from the banks to 20 feet in depth as the fish are feeding in an aggressive pre-spawn pattern. Watermelon or greenpumpkin have been the top colors. Keitech swimbaits in variety of color patterns are also working on a slow steady retrieve in the 10 to 15 foot range with the best action adjacent to structure such as rockpiles. Pine Flat is primarily a spotted bass lake, but there a few largemouth bass up the river arm.’
At Millerton, Newman said, “Merritt Gilbert from our shop was there during the week, and although he is a ‘dyed in the wool’ worm guy, he had to change his techniques over to chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and swimbaits on an underspin since the finesse bite just wasn’t there. The lake is dropping water rapidly, and it is already on the lower ramps. Weightless Senkos are also working, and natural shad or Casper have been the top colors in the 4- to 5-inch Senkos. The swimbait bite is halfway decent, but you have to be very deliberate with a slow retrieve on the bottom at depths to 20 feet. There are plenty of small male bass running the banks with the larger females holding in 15 to 20 feet in pre-spawn mode. Sloping flats have been the top areas with fewer fish holding along the steep walls.
Hensley has been avoided by area bass fishermen for months, but with the water clearing up and warming, quality bass are taken on a variety of techniques while Newman said, “Eastman is a little better for numbers, but Hensley has been very good for size although the water is a bit dirtier. Jigs are working at both lakes, and the Mega Bass Dock Crawler in green pumpkin are working for bass to 18 inches at Eastman.”|
Trout plants at both Eastman and Hensley have brought out a few shore fishermen, and the trout bite has been especially good at Hensley with inflated nightcrawlers near the dam. Trout dough bait has been less productive.
Pine Flat and Millerton are dropping at 67 and 47 percent respectively while Eastman and Hensley held at 77 and 38 percent.

San Luis Reservoir:
San Luis Reservoir has held for the past several weeks at 99 percent, and the high water has contributed to a solid striper bite, particularly for trollers. The fish are far more shallow than normal,  and they are found at depths from 20 to 40 feet instead of the normal 60 to 80 feet.
Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The troll bite has been the best method for stripers right now, and since the lake is full, the linesides are higher in the water column. Lucky Craft jerkbaits or broken-backed Rebels are working with one of our customers putting his boat onto three limits of stripers with an average of 24 inches within 1.5 hours.”
Jesus Reyes Silva of Hollister was on the lake on Sunday during the first annual How to Fish Striped Bass Derby, and they caught and released multiple stripers trolling his custom JKingslures. He said, “The First Annual HOW TO FISH target-length striper derby was a big success with 31 participants launching out of Basalt Recreation Area at first light. A number of boats were searching the lake throughout the day as the tough bite continued, but as the derby wound down and the 3:00 p.m. weigh in came around, so did the fish. We saw several quality stripers in the low to mid-20’s as everyone hoped to be closest to the 26-inch target length. In the end, Travis Porter from Hollister took first place with a 24 5/8th inch striper, Drew Wilson of Hollister came in second at 23 3/8th inches, and Allen Day from Morgan Hill in third at 23 1/6th inch. Most of the action took place from Whistler Point to Lone Oak Bay on the west side in Cottonwood Bay at depths from 45 to 55 feet.”
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added to the information on trolling, saying, “The trolling bite is better than drifting minnows right now, and they are working island tops or creek channels around 30 feet in depth for good numbers of stripers. There are a lot of fish in the 17- to 23-inch range along with the occasional 25 to 28 incher in the mix. The larger grade of striped bass that were showing up in late January and February have been absent, but they are plentiful.”
The winds have been up at times at the lake, and anglers need to be cautious of the conditions and pay attention to the wind advisories. In the O-Neill Forebay, the water remains dirty from heavy pumping in and out of the main lake, and the best action has been for catfish with sardines, chicken livers, or prepared catfish baits around Check 12 while the grade of striped bass remains sublegal.

Shaver Lake:

A rapid drawdown of Shaver Lake has left the Sierra Marina launch ramp high and dry in anticipation of the coming snowmelt from the upper watershed. The ramp was anticipated to be open during March, but the lake dropped to 44 percent this week, and the ramp is inaccessible at around 50 percent. The lake is expected to be at 32 percent by April 1 and around 30 percent by May 1.

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters out of Shaver Lake said, “All ramps will be out of the water during these months, and I was advised that I could possibly launch my 22-foot about by mid-May. Therefore, I have opted to cancel all of my pre-booked trips between April 15 and May 15. You might be able to launch at the present time with a small aluminum boat and a 4 wheel drive tow vehicle, and those able to access the lake should find some decent fishing as the 2nd year kokanee are already at 14 inches. The Sierra Marina has already moved out into open water out from Road 1. Once the lake starts rising in mid-May, it will continue to rise to around 67 percent by June 1, 91 percent by July 1, and around 100 percent by Labor Day. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will make plants of between 8 to 10,000 pounds of catchable rainbow trout this summer, and the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will make their annual plants of trophy-sized rainbows from eastern Oregon in late spring and mid-summer. Even with the low water conditions right now, I expect a nice summer of fishing with good kokanee and trout action.”


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