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The perfect weekend getaway in Sonora

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POSTED July 2, 2010 2:56 a.m.
This past weekend I received a hot tip on a camping location located slightly above Sonora. Being that it was going to be almost 20 degrees cooler up there than in Manteca, I was open to the idea of spending the day someplace cooler. With my wife and son open to the idea of going for a little trip, we loaded the car with some essentials and off to Fraser Flat we went. While driving we watched as the outside temperature went from nearly 100 degrees all the way down to 86 degrees.

In true family vacation fashion, I took a couple wrong turns and ended up seeing parts of Sonora I’ve never seen before. I even managed to not make a complete stop at a stop sign and got pulled over. The police officer knew I was lost and not only gave me directions but let me go with just a warning. It’s been a while since I’ve driven through an actual forest.

The Stanislaus National Forest is beautiful; there were a couple sights along the way that were absolutely breathtaking. The campground itself was tucked away into the forest providing constant shade to just about every campsite. The Stanislaus River was also less than 100 yards from the farthest campsite and stocked weekly with trout. My wife absolutely loved the location and my son didn’t want to leave at the end of the day.
For the family, I think I’ve found the perfect weekend getaway and am already planning another visit. For more information about the various available forest campgrounds, you can visit  

Delta Report
Wind has made it hard on some anglers seeking out a top water bite combined with the cooler mornings we have had lately. Those doing well for bass are using spinner baits and buzz baits. With all the boat traffic recently on the delta, most anglers have chosen to stay home. Fishing off the bank is good right now for catfish and pan fish. Bluegill and Crappie can be found near either brush piles or docks, try using small worms or minnows under a bobber. For catfish right now, any of the traditional catfish baits are working well while fished off the bottom.     

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. Bass fishing is still good for anglers tossing rattletraps and spinner baits. Cat fishing has really started to pick up for a lot of anglers fishing the night just about anywhere on the lake. The Bluegill and Pan fish bite has improved for those fishing the backs of brushy coves.

Lake Pardee
Summertime is a great time to fish Lake Pardee, fishing for smallmouth bass can be great this time of year. A favorite technique of mine is the use of crickets for smallmouth bass. Fished either on the bottom or drug in and round underwater rock piles almost always provide action. If choosing to use artificials the early morning top water bite often is very good and the mid day jig bite around submerged islands is also another great choice. Either way Lake Pardee is a beautiful lake, which is a true fishing lake only, no personal watercrafts allowed, and no body contact with the water allowed.

Lake Camanche
The bite is really good right now for those fishing for bluegill and bass. Bass are being caught right now just about anywhere on the lake, with rocky points being the best spots. Lures that are being used are spinner baits and crank baits, while the bigger fish are being caught by those dragging plastics along the bottom. Bluegills are being caught shallow by those fishing with red worms in the backs of bays.

Lake Amador
Most of the fishing is taking place during the night. Very few anglers are fishing the lake during the daytime. Anglers are currently catching bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and a few trout, all while fishing through the night.

Boaters Needed
On July 18th the 12th annual Conroy Oakley Pro Teen tournament will be held 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, boater’s fish for free. For more information call (925) 684-9775.
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