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Final whistle signals kickoff for bass fishing

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POSTED February 6, 2009 4:59 a.m.
The end of football season is a time of both sadness and joy for me.

As that last whistle blew, there went all my excuses to not be outside working on the yard or finishing other projects around the house. On the more positive side, I’m very excited for the much anticipated spring bite.

There have already been a few double-digit fish caught locally which usually is a sign that the wide-open bite is just around the corner. Once again, I’m wondering if this will be the year I finally catch a bass over 13 pounds.

With what seems like our first significant rainstorm forecasted, the fishing may get interesting as the water temperatures are in or nearing the 50-degree mark in a lot of places.

As far as bass fishing goes, 55 degrees is said to be the magic temperature. Not only do the crawdads begin to come out of hibernation, but the rise in water temperature along with the right moon phase can begin the first spawn of the year.

Nevertheless, I’ll be ready with my favorite pre-spawn baits and rain gear.  

Delta Report
The bite is really starting to turn on for a lot of anglers. Stripers are actively feeding on schools of bait that are being seen busting on the surface.

Bass fishing still remains tough for the impatient angler.

Typical of early-spring anglers are reporting days of catching a lot of fish and days where they struggle to get bit. The bites are far and few for those fishing jigs but the fish being caught are worth the effort.

Don’t forget to work your baits deeper than normal as fish are being found stacking up in transitional areas before making their way to the shallows.

New Melones Lake
Anglers are currently catching a lot of planter-sized trout that have been released into the lake by the Department of Fish and Game. Both anglers on and off the bank are catching fish.

A variety of baits are working well, anglers trolling are fishing from the surface down to 20 feet deep. Bass fishing is picking up on the lake as anglers are starting to see some fish moving shallow.

The bite hasn’t opened up just yet but will be shortly. There have been some really nice spotted bass being caught on swimbaits and spoons.

Just recently a tournament was won with a limit of spotted bass weighing slightly over 24 pounds.

Lake Don Pedro
Trout fishing has picked up lately for anglers trolling anywhere from the surface down to 15 feet deep. Bass fishing is also starting to pick up for a lot of anglers.

A majority of anglers are throwing large swimbaits with mixed results. Anglers fishing points and schools of fish down to thirty five feet are catching small limits and an occasional good fish.

Lake Pardee
The lake has been receiving off season plants by the California Fish and Game totaling 7,000 pounds. plus the 6,000 pounds planted by Pardee Lake Inc. along with 4,000 pounds opening day.

Power Bait has been working well for those fishing around the launch ramp cove. Anglers trolling around the Narrows, face of the dam, and the mouth of the river are having the best luck.

Bass fishing has been slow for anglers as this time of year is usually a slow time of year for numbers. With all the trout up shallow there should definitely be a swimbait bite somewhere on the lake.

Lake Amador
Trout fishing is excellent right now for anglers fishing off the bank and by boat. Most trout are being caught while fishing the top ten feet of water.
Anglers trolling are trolling shad imitating lures to the backs of the creeks.

Fishing Tip
For those who like to drop shot, try fishing two baits by rigging one hook close to the bottom and a second hook up a couple feet.

Often if you’re in a really good area you may be able to catch two fish at the same time.

It’s also recommended that your bottom bait be a darker color imitating crawdads which are often found walking along the bottom.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail
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