Don’t let the hot days fool you; fall is going to be here faster than you think. There are little signs that I’ve picked up over the years that have clued me in to the changes in the seasons. It’s already getting darker earlier, and our nights on average have been getting cooler. The longer the water isn’t receiving light, it’s going to start to cool. Even the slightest bit of cooling can indicate a change of seasons to a fish. As the water cools, a fish’s instinct is to start feeding in anticipation of winter. When winter hits, a fish’s metabolism slows, causing them to feed less. For bass fishermen, the bite typically gets tougher as feeding windows become smaller. Certain species of fish thrive in cooler temperatures. Striped bass and trout are two of the most sought-after, locally caught species of fish during the winter. They prefer cooler temperatures causing them to become more active when the water cools.
Bass fishing continues to be good right now on the Delta. The early morning top water bait hasn’t been disappointing anglers as they have been having luck while fishing with Whopper Ploppers and Snagproof Frogs. Once the sun is high there are a lot of smaller fish feeding throughout the Delta that are willing to bite on a variety of lures. Catfishing and fishing for bluegills continues to be good just about everywhere on the Delta right now.
New Melones Lake:
Kokanee fishing has turned on for larger than average sized kokanee. Anglers trolling are finding them between 60 and 100 feet deep. The hot bait right now is a Paulina Peak’s P-Lite and Top Gun spinners along with Kevorkian Apex lures in front of either a Mag Tackle’s new Gold Series or Trinidad’s 24K dodger. There are a lot of nice catfish being caught by anglers fishing off the bank with traditional catfish baits. Many anglers are opting to fish for catfish during the night, but they are also being caught by anglers fishing during the day as well. Bass fishing remains good for those that are fishing the lake. There are a lot of small fish feeding on shad making them easy targets. Currently the lake is 67 percent full.
Lake Don Pedro:
The kokanee bite has all but shut down as anglers are choosing to head to Melones while the bite is still good. Bass fishing is fair for anglers looking to catch a lot of small fish while the bigger fish have been harder to find. Anglers fishing for bass are concentrating on fishing the main lake points with small worms or jigs. The bigger ones are being caught by anglers fishing glide baits. Currently the lake is 77 percent full.
The night bite continues to be good for anglers that are willing to fish through the night. Anglers fishing for bass are having luck while fishing top water baits until the sun goes completely down and then changing to large plastic worms for the rest of the night. There is also a good catfish bite right now at night for anglers fishing around the dam and launch ramp area with cut bait.
Lake New Hogan:
Schools of striped bass have started pushing schools of shad to the surface, resulting in a few nice catches by local anglers. There are a lot of techniques that can be used to catch stripers this time of year. I prefer to troll umbrella rigs at depths between 10 and 20 feet deep. Another favorite technique is trolling rolled shad through schools of fish.
For numbers of kokanee, anglers are heading to Lake Pardee. There are a lot of schools to be found early in the morning. Anglers trolling for kokanee are finding them scattered making having good electronics a necessity. Fishing for bass is fair. Anglers are doing well while focusing on fishing steep banks with ned rigs and small plastics.
Tip of the Week:
If you plan on storing your reel for a long time, it’s good practice to release all the tension on the drag. Most drag systems consist of spring like washers that compress when tightened. Leaving them locked tight for long periods of time can prematurely age your reel’s drag mechanism.