Just when I was starting to imagine our lakes being full and our launch ramps being within walking, not hiking, distance from the parking lot, I read somewhere that we’re not even close to filling up our local lakes. I’m not sure if that’s something they’re saying so that we don’t get our hopes up, or if it’s an actual fact? Like a lot of you, it’s hard to believe that we won’t have enough water. The fact of the matter is that lake levels can be deceiving. The water in one lake is often released to fill up another lake. New Melones for example is still 253 feet from being full while Lake Pardee is scheduled to release a large amount of water to help bring up Lake Camanche’s water level. Usually the higher you go in elevation the more consistent the water levels are. A true indicator of our need for water is seen in our two biggest lakes. Until I see that New Melones and Don Pedro are nearing full I’m trying to not get too excited. They’re rising though, but at 2 feet a week on average, they’re a long way from being full.
Right now the bass fishing is really starting to show signs of picking up. The outgoing tide is the best right now. Once the tide bottoms so has the fishing. In recent tournaments the overall average has increased and plenty of fish over five pounds are being weighed in. The water clarity is almost gin clear in some places, temperatures have risen and our next full moon should create an awesome bite. Fishing for striped bass remains tough; very few reports of fish being caught are coming in right now.
New Melones Lake:
Trout fishing has improved but not much recently. Anglers that are having luck while fishing for trout are fishing with Power Bait around the Highway 49 Bridge. Bass fishing has started to pick up as anglers are starting to catch large swimbait fish. Amongst the bass fishing community there seems to be some really nice swimbait fish being caught on the lake right now. The lake is currently 16 percent full making it still difficult to launch a boat into. The only launch ramp open right now is off of Glory Hole Point. Vehicles equipped with 4x4 are highly recommended given the current launching conditions.
Lake Don Pedro:
Most of the anglers having any luck are fishing for bass. Jigs fished between 10 and 20 feet deep has been the most consistent along with drop shotting or darter heading a small plastic worm. Those who are after a big bass know that this is the time of year to toss your favorite swimbait on the lake as there are big fish out there looking for a big meal right before the spawn. Trout fishing remains very tough on the lake as there are very few reports of trout being caught by anglers trolling or while fishing off of the bank. The only paved launch ramp that is open continues to be out of Fleming Meadows.
One of my favorite all time lakes has yet to announce when they will be opening for the year. Many thought that it would be open by now but due to the weather a lot of the construction has been put on hold.
Trout fishing remains your best bet on the lake and in the ponds right now. Both the lake and the ponds have been receiving weekly plants of hungry trout which haven’t disappointed anglers. Bass fishing is improving slowly; anglers catching them are crawling baits along the bottom or tossing large swim baits. The lake is currently 60 feet from being full.
There are still plenty of trout being stocked weekly. Anglers fishing off the bank and by boat are having success both trolling and fishing with Power Bait. There’s really no secret to catching them as there are so many in the lake right now that as long as you’re keeping your line wet you should catch a limit of trout.
Tip of the Week:
I rarely ever keep my catch. Just in case I decide to or I’m with someone who would like to take some fish home I always have my fish cleaning kit in the back of my truck. Most fish cleaning kits are pretty compact and are easy to store. Along with a cutting board and a good fillet knife I keep several zip lock bags with me as well so that my fillets can go right into the refrigerator or freezer once arriving home.