Fish attractants have been used in some form or another for many years. In the middle 1980s I can remember there being a big interest in fish attractants as several major tackle manufacturers added fish attractants to their product line. I can remember one specific brand that comes to mind “Bait mate,” it was in a liquid form with a consistency that was similar to vegetable oil. One quick spray of this supposedly would create a feeding frenzy. Every major fishing show started to endorse the use of fish attractants and anglers followed accordingly. To add a little confusion manufacturers then began to make different types of scents like, shad, crayfish, and game fish. I can remember fellow anglers even blaming their poor day on not having the right scent. Today fish attractants are still selling but they have changed greatly. They continue to be smelly and oily but a little more fisherman friendly. A lot of them are now in gel form and do not need to be applied after every cast. They still claim to deliver unparalleled results and now have some of the most creative names like shrimp, crawfish, bass feast, panfish feast, lizard, leach, anchovy, nightcrawler, bass hammer, salmon hammer, and special mix. Do they work; from my experience when a fish is tricked into attacking a bait nothing is going to stop it, not even the smell of the bait. For anglers fishing baits that are being slowly crawled along the bottom a little extra scent can’t hurt!
Fishing is really starting to pick up; bass are being caught on swimbaits as well as flipping jigs and creature baits. Striped bass are hitting almost anything right now and can be found throughout the system. Tie on a large chrome and blue rattle trap and find any area where there is a little current and cast away. I’ve been using a stop and go retrieve which really seems to draw more strikes. Anglers are also doing well around Mildred Island while drifting live bluegill.
New Melones Lake:
The Department of Fish and Game have begun their weekly planting of trout which should improve the trout bite on the lake shortly. Right now the lake is in transition as the cooler water has yet to make its way to the surface. Bass fishing is good right now as the bass are feeding heavily in preparation for winter. Anglers are doing well while fishing with jigs and grubs along the bottom once finding schools of bait. There are also a few reports of anglers having luck while fishing with swim baits.
New Hogan Lake:
Bass fishing continues to be good for anglers fishing a variety of baits. A favorite right now is pretty much any crawdad imitator that can be worked along the bottom or even a weighted Senko.
Trout plants continue, anglers are reporting catching trout while fishing near the dam. Bass fishing continues to be good on the lake right now as anglers are scoring good limits while fishing reaction baits and plastics in ten to fifteen feet of water.
From now until early spring is probably the best time of year to fish for trout on the lake. The lake is being heavily planted weekly with trout making them easy targets for the patient angler. Power Bait, or trout lures such as Kastmasters and Spinners continue to be the most popular baits.
Fishing has slowed down on the lake but there are still schools of shad being chased to the surface by trout and bass. Finding those actively feeding schools in the middle of their ambush is the key to catching them right now. Some anglers are driving around looking for birds following the schools of baitfish. Others are trolling or holding in place on a spot where they believe the schools will pass.
Tip of the Week:
As the cooler weather is here now, there are a few things that can be done to stay warm. Fleece is an amazing material which has done me well over the years. My typical cold weather gear consists of a beanie, gloves, jacket, and if it’s really cold some fishing bibs that are gortex or fleece lined. Fleece just seems to wear better than cotton and when wet seems to dry off a lot faster.