Living in California there really isn’t an off season for those of us who love to fish. Unlike other parts of the country, an angler can fish for one species of fish all year long. For a lot of tournament fishermen, this time of year is the off season. Most major tournament organizations start their seasons around the first couple weeks of January, and end in May or June. Most anglers continue to fish once their tournament season comes to an end, but fish less than when the season is in full swing. That’s been the case for me these past few years. When I was younger it was 24/7 fishing. It got so bad that I no longer enjoyed fishing. I was so serious about winning, that even on my practice days, I found myself stressing out. Those days usually started before the sun came up and lasted until it was too dark to fish. That’s no longer the case for me. I still fish all year long, but fish when I want to. I’m also okay with fishing a half day instead of an 18-hour day. I’ve learned from my previous experiences that there’s more to life than fishing. Time spent with family and friends is just as important. That’s been my off season so far this year, and I’m enjoying fishing just as much now as I did before I ever tournament fished.
With water temperatures dropping and as the days become shorter the fishing should be getting better. Currently bass are being caught on just about anything. Reaction baits such as rattle traps and spinnerbaits are producing lots of numbers right now. Stripers are starting to make their way into some of the flooded islands such as Franks Tract, Big Break, and Mildred Island. Anglers are using cut bait and trolling for stripers. The bite isn’t wide open yet but is improving steadily.
New Melones Lake:
Fishing for trout and kokanee has slowed down recently. There are very few reports of either being caught. Most local anglers are choosing to fish Don Pedro. Bass fishing like Don Pedro is good for numbers of smaller fish with an occasional big fish being caught by those who are fishing with topwater baits and large glide baits. Catfishing is good for anglers fishing off the bank at night while soaking anchovies or chicken livers. There is a catfish derby being put on by Glory Hole Sports for the month of October. For more information, visit or contact the store at (209) 736-4333.
Lake Don Pedro:
Trout fishing is great right now with most trout being caught by anglers trolling speedy shiners. Anglers are trolling between 50 and 90 feet deep. The key to catching them is boat speed. Numbers of hungry trout are being caught by anglers trolling between 3 and 4 mph. For bass, anglers are finding them scattered all over the lake. It doesn’t seem like there’s a specific depth or pattern for them right now. A lot of anglers are choosing to fan cast umbrella rigs down to 20 feet deep and having luck. As the water cools the bass will begin to school up tighter making them easier to find.
Currently there is very little fishing pressure during the week for anglers fishing for trout. The fishing is slow right now especially during the midday hours. Your best bet is getting there first thing in the morning. Anglers are having luck catching small limits of kokanee while trolling between 30 and 50 feet deep. Bass fishing is slow right now; those catching fish are targeting schools of fish found as deep as 30 feet while using small plastic worms. Catfishing is good right now on the lake for those who are using either chicken livers or sardines. Most of the catfish are being found in the backs of coves.
Trout fishing is very slow right now. Bass fishing continues to be good for those fishing traditional summer patterns. Topwater baits are working well early in the morning and late in the day. During the day anglers are catching limits of fish while tossing crankbaits or small plastic worms. Catfishing is also good right now on the lake for those fishing off the bank with night crawlers or anchovies.
Tip of the Week:
I’ve purchased fishing tackle online several times over the past few years with mixed results. Some places are very good at getting their product out to you as soon as possible. Others have taken orders without checking their inventory leaving me with backordered items. One of my favorite online vendors is Tackle Warehouse, they let you know what is backordered ahead of time and in most cases your order will be delivered to your door in no more than two days.