January is an interesting month for fishing.
It seems like some fish are waiting for the first signs of spring, while others seem to be enjoying the cold weather.
I used to stick to fishing for one species only. It didn’t matter what time of year it was, I was going to fish for bass.
Since I’ve been doing this column, I’ve discovered that there’s a lot more out there.
Right now, for example, it’s hard to ignore all the trout that are being planted in the lakes. They are fairly easy to catch and continue to bite on even the coldest of days.
As soon as the trout stop biting, the bass begin to cruise the shallows while preparing for their annual spawn. Fishing for bass during the spawn is a great time to catch a fish of a lifetime as well as a number of quality fish.
Once the spawn is over and the summer-like temperatures hit us, it’s time to get the downriggers out and catch limits of kokanee. Kokanee are probably one of the most plentiful of all the fish I fish for throughout the year. They’re definitely the best tasting for the dinner table or smoker.
There are many options out there for the angler who just wants to catch fish. If you’re one who waits until the spring to get out fishing, you just may be missing out on some of the best fishing of the year.
Fishing for bass is always hit or miss this time of year as their metabolism has slowed way down. The water temperatures have also dropped down into the 40s in some places on the Delta making it even tougher. Jigs are the bait of choice, either in black and blue or shades of brown or black. Striper fishing continues to be tough as very few stripers are being caught locally.
New Melones Lake
Trout fishing continues to be great along the banks of Glory Hole Cove and Angles Cove. Anglers are using Power Bait in rainbow or chartreuse, or a night crawler/scented marshmallow combo. Make sure that your bait is floating off the bottom as that seems to be the method of successful anglers right now.
Anglers fishing out of boats are also having decent action while drifting live minnows under a bobber. There have also been reports of a few brown trout mixed in with the rainbows.
Lake Don Pedro
The trout at Don Pedro continue to provide anglers with steady action. Currently they can be found from the surface down to 25-feet deep. Mexican Gulch, Big Creek arm, Six Bit Gulch and the area around the Flume all seem to be loaded with fish.
Vance's Slim Willie and crawler/combo or in tandem with an Ex-Cel green back shad is a very good set-up for rainbows right now in the two pound range.
Trout fishing is good right now; anglers are catching them on and off the bank. North Shore bank anglers are having the best of luck, catching limits of trout up to 2 pounds on both Power Bait and Power Eggs. Bass fishing remains tough for anglers fishing off the bank. Most of the bass being caught are by those fishing from a boat equipped with a fish finding device.
Anglers continue to be pleased with the trout bite; the banks have been filling up fast so make sure to get there early. Power Bait fished off the bottom is still the best method for catching trout at Lake Amador. There are several weekly plants going on which have put some of the lakes larger bass on the prowl.
Tip of the Week
I learned the hard way that if you plan on staying out in the rain, make sure that everything gets aired out until dry. All boat compartments should be vented or left open; if not, mold will surely develop.