This year, more than any other year, I’m really being forced to think twice about where I’m going to go fishing next. Very few of my regular summertime fishing spots have enough water to safely or easily launch my boat anymore. These past few years I’ve really enjoyed fishing for Kokanee. Lakes like New Melones and Don Pedro are full of Kokanee but are both at their lowest in decades. All of the reports have stated that it’s safe to launch with a 4X4, but without a courtesy dock and only one lane, I’m not sure that the risk is worth the reward. The walk, or should I say, hike from the launch ramp to the parking lot is definitely not something to look forward to after a long day of fishing either.
Lake Pardee has been my go to lake, due to the conditions of the other local lakes, but it’s closing early this year, July 10. So, it looks like the Kokanee are going to be given a break this year as sure hope that next year brings rain.
Most anglers fishing for bass are having luck while tossing top water frogs throughout the day, Senko’s, Spinner baits, and Sweet Beavers are all catching bass right now. With the weather we have had lately look for shady spots along the bank, or spots closest to deeper water. Fish will either be looking for shade or proximity to deep moving water. If you can find shade next to a deep drop your chance of catching a big fish will be increased. Striped Bass fishing is fair for anglers willing to wait it out while fishing with live bait. Anglers catching them are fishing around Rio Vista or Whisky Slough with live Mudsuckers or Bluegills.
New Melones Lake:
Kokanee catches continue to keep anglers busy as Trout fishing has slowed down for the summer. Anglers catching Kokanee are fishing the dam area and can be found between 40-50 feet deep. Trout have been biting for those willing to fish through the night. Night fishermen are reporting catches while soaking Power Bait below a submersible light along the main lake channels. Bass fishing is still good for angler fishing Carolina rigged baby brush hogs. Most Bass are of the smaller version with a bigger fish mixed in occasionally. Morning and evening top water fish are being caught right now on poppers and spook type lures. All launching on the lake is on gravel out of Glory Hole Point making having a vehicle equipped with four wheel drive necessary.
Night fishing for bass is a favorite summertime escape for me. Lake Amador in particular is a small safe lake which with any cast can produce a personal best. An hour before the sun starts to go down Bass habitually will bring schools of shad to the surface which can create some explosive top water action. The key to catching feeding fish on the surface is patience. With a top water lure in hand, wait for the fish to start exploding on the surface and then make your cast right into the middle of the attacking fish. This technique will surely produce some of the most explosive top water action. Once the sun goes down I either toss a ½ oz. black spinner bait or drag 10 inch Berkeley Power worms. Then, if fishing through the night as the morning sun starts to break once again fish will be feeding on the surface, get that top water lure out and repeat the previous pattern.
Lake Don Pedro:
King Salmon are being caught by anglers while rolling shad between 80 and 110 feet deep. Anglers having the most success are trolling around Graveyard Bay. The Kokanee are also on a good bite, but are still scattered around the lake and found between 40 and 60 feet deep. The best set-ups are Sep’s watermelon dodger, silver prism or copper dodgers, while trailing lures such as Uncle Larry’s Mad Irishman, Copper Pop spinners or Kokanee bugs, all tipped with white shoe peg corn soaked in Pro-Cure’s carp spit, Kokanee special, and shrimp and prawn oils. Fleming Meadows has the only paved launch ramp available on the lake.
The annual Conroy Oakley Pro Teen tournament will be held on July 19 out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island. The purpose of the event is to introduce teens 13 to 19 years old to fishing through a professional style tournament where they will be paired up with a boater for six hours. Currently, they are in need of more boaters for the event; boaters fish for free, for more information call (925) 684-9775.