A recent morning brought the first real cold snap of the year. For many anglers, the colder temperatures bring the fish closer to the surface. For others, fishing is only going to get tougher as their species of choice will most likely be hunkering down for the winter. Fishing the wintertime can be extremely tough and for the inpatient person, unbearable. When I think about fishing during the wintertime I immediately think of slowing down and downsizing my line. Unless I’m lucky enough to find an active school of fish the bites are going to be far and few and very subtle. My preference in baits this time of year has always been slower moving baits that I can inch along the bottom. If you’ve ever watched a bass underwater during the wintertime, their movements are very limited and if they are going to eat something it better be easy to catch. Trout and stripers on the other hand thrive during the cooler months as the colder the water temperatures almost cripple the shad making them easy targets. Whatever your preference of fishing is during the winter months, my best advice is to always keep your life jacket on, don’t expect a lot of bites, downsize your line diameter, and when all else fails, slow down.
Striped bass fishing has been picking up for anglers while fishing a variety of different techniques. The three techniques that are working right now are drifting live bait, trolling broken back rebels, and spooning jigs where schools of fish are present. Largemouth bass fishing has been hit or miss lately. The preferred technique for bass has been fishing black or blue jigs around points of islands.
New Melones Lake:
Trout fishing is excellent right now with a lot of nice sized trout being caught while trolling or fishing off the bank. Bank anglers are doing well while fishing power bait. Glory Hole Point is currently a hot spot for bank anglers. For anglers trolling the Apex U.V. has been the hot lure right now. Anglers trolling for trout are going are currently going as deep as fifty feet. Bass fishing remains good as bass are really starting to feed as the cooler weather approaches. Swim baits have been responsible for the largest catches while anglers are catching large numbers of fish while tossing rip baits and crankbaits. There is also a good deepwater bite for anglers who prefer to drag soft plastics. Catfishing is still good right now as last week a 16 lb. catfish was caught off the bank while fishing with an anchovy.
Lake Don Pedro:
Trout fishing is good on the lake right now. Many anglers are covering a lot of water for their limits. There are very few hot spots right now as the fish seem to be scattered throughout the lake. The Department of Fish and Game will be planting trout for the next two weeks so the bank fishing should be picking up. Bass fishing has slowed down; anglers are slowing down their presentations hoping to get a few bites. Small worms and jigs are the preferred baits for this time of year unless you can find an active school of fish to work a spoon through.
Weekly trout plants have kept anglers busy; trout are being caught right now by trolling and fishing off the bank. Bank fishermen are having luck while using Power Bait along the North Shore day use area. Anglers trolling are targeting the top twenty feet of water and using an Uncle Larry’s spinner tipped with a nightcrawler along the dam. Bass fishermen continue to have luck while fishing shad imitating lures along island tops or main lake points.
Tip of the Week:
Winter is usually the time I start thinking of having my boat engine serviced. It’s an expensive procedure but is well worth the peace of mind once the spring season is here. If you cannot have a service done there are a few things that you can do yourself that can save you a ton of money in the long run. Change the lower unit oil, you don’t need any special tools and it’s easy to do. Take off the prop and remove any debris. I can almost guarantee you’re going to find someone’s old line wrapped around the shaft. If you can afford to change the sparkplugs, I highly recommend it. At the least, I would inspect and clean them. Lastly, if you cannot change the water pump impeller, make sure to keep a close eye on your water temperature gauge. If you don’t have a gauge, your engine should be spitting out a steady stream of water.