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Better days ahead after tough years for anglers


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POSTED February 4, 2011 12:41 a.m.
I’ve been exchanging emails with a cousin of mine from Oklahoma.

Up until five months ago I didn’t even know I had relatives in Oklahoma. Not only does she have a coaching background, she’s also is an avid fisherman.

In her last message, she wrote that the weather was great and that the fishing was fantastic.

I was reminded of my experience fishing a tournament in Texas several years ago. Even though it was still very cold here in California, in Texas the fish were in the middle of their spawn and they were attacking just about any bait you could put in front of them.

Usually, as soon as the fishing here gets better, it’s been good for over a month elsewhere. Like Groundhog Day, I think there should be some type of indicator that would tell us whether or not we were going to have a good fishing year.

For me, it seems like a good year usually proceeds a bad year. These last couple of years were extremely tough for a lot of anglers. If I’ve learned anything from doing this column, it’s been that there’s a definite pattern.

Based on my notes, I’m predicting the fishing to get better this year. We’re still a few major storms away from officially being into spring, but I’m definitely anxious to get out.

Delta Report

Anglers continue to struggle while fishing for bass on the Delta. Typically this time of year you’re not going to get many bites but the ones you do get can be giants.

One of my favorite early-spring baits is a red spinnerbait with gold blades. You can cover a lot of water with the bait it often attracts ferocious bites.

For a more subtle approach senko’s and jigs are also favorites among many Delta anglers.

New Melones Lake

The trout fishing continues to good, anglers are catching limits throughout the lake. Anglers are also 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 doing well while using Power Bait. Anglers trolling are fishing between 15 and 20 feet deep. It’s not uncommon for anglers to hook into brown trout this time of year while fishing for rainbow trout.

They are both actively feeding at the same depths from the surface down to 25 feet deep. Bass fishing is picking up on the lake as anglers are starting to see a few small groups of fish moving shallow. The bite hasn’t opened up just yet but will be shortly.

Lake Don Pedro

Trout fishing has picked up lately for anglers trolling anywhere from 10-15 feet deep. There is a good jig bite for anglers fishing between 25 and 30 feet deep.

A favorite jig this time of year for many lake fish is a football head jig with a Yamamoto Twin Tail Grub. You really can’t go wrong with either watermelon red or cinnamon/purple attached to a half-ounce jig head.

Lake Pardee

The lake is scheduled to be open for fishing Friday, Feb. 18.

To improve the chances of anglers having a successful opening day, 4,800 pounds of rainbow trout will be planted into the lake on February 18 and 19. Another 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout will be planted on Saturday, followed by another 5,000 pounds on Thursday and Friday of the following week.

The lake will be open for camping on Thursday, Feb. 17.

Lake Camanche

Trout fishing continues to be great on the lake as many anglers are doing well while trolling or fishing from the bank.

Power Bait continues to be a favorite of many anglers and Rapalas are hard to beat for those trolling. Bass fishing is picking up as limits are not hard to find for those fishing bottom baits.

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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