For the 19th year in a row, I’m in Arizona to start the New Year. Being that I’m so close to the Mexican border, I decided to go across this year, not only to do a little shopping but to also dine at some of their local restaurants. If you’ve never crossed the border before, the line coming back across to the United States can be several hours long. What I didn’t expect to see while waiting in line was a truck trailering a boat. The truck trailering the boat was sent to have a secondary inspection. Every single compartment in the truck, trailer, and boat were being inspected. Those guys don’t play around, all of the owner’s belongings were unpacked and all his items were removed from the truck, camper, and the boat. I’m not sure if anything illegal was found or not, I just know that I’ll never be taking my boat across the border after seeing that inspection. This year was the first time that I actually drove my vehicle across. Other than having to wait in line for several hours, it was no different than driving anywhere else that I’ve ever been.
The striped bass bite is decent right now for those drifting live bait or trolling broken backed rebels. Anglers are doing well while fishing with pencil poppers and fish traps in shad colors. Bass fishing is good for those anglers who know how to effectively fish a jig. Black and blue is a good color right now. Look for areas where the water is a little deeper but close to shallow water. Some anglers are choosing to fish the backs of sloughs while targeting wood.
Lake New Melones:
Trout fishing is good right now for anglers fishing both from the bank and from their boats. Anglers trolling are having luck while trolling from the surface down to 20 feet deep. Bank anglers are doing well using Power Bait or night crawlers to catch their limits. For those fishing from the shore it’s best to move up and down the shoreline until you locate a school of fish. Trollers are scoring with blade/crawler combinations, Needlefish, Excels, or Vance’s spoons in shad patterns such as: natural shad, chrome, or Cop Car. Brown trout have been taken on plugs such as Rapala J9’s, Sebile Magic Swimmers, or a River2Sea S-waver trolled fast over structure. Bass fishing has gotten tough, as almost all of the fish being caught are being found deep. Anglers are using drop shotted worms and spoons to catch bass once they’re located.
Lake Don Pedro:
Bank fishing is good right now for anglers fishing for trout. Anglers fishing for trout are doing well while using live minnows under a bobber. There currently is very little fishing pressure on the lake, most anglers are preferring to fish New Melones. Bass fishing has gotten tougher as the water has gotten colder. This time of year it’s important to work your baits slowly as the fish have become very lethargic.
Anglers fishing off the bank are enjoying the action as the trout are biting. Most of the anglers catching them are using power bait fished off the bottom in 25 feet of water. Anglers trolling for trout are also doing well while trolling from the surface down to 25 feet deep around the Dam. Bass fishing is tough right now as it’s been really hard to find them. Anglers having any success are reading the bottom with their depth finders and locating small schools. Once finding those schools they are dragging small jigs or drop shotted worms through and around the school for limited bites.
Heavy loads of trout are being planted into the lake right now on what seems like a daily basis. Anglers fishing off the bank are doing well while using Power Bait either fished off the bottom or beneath a bobber. Anglers trolling for trout are having luck from first light up until 1 p.m.
Tip of the Week:
Many people are unaware of the money saving possibilities that are available to them when it comes to purchasing their annual fishing license. I highly recommend going to the Department of Fish and Game’s website and researching the available discounts before going out and paying full price. Licenses can also be purchased online eliminating having to find a place that sells fishing licenses.