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Rising launching fees getting harder to ignore, especially on weekends

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POSTED March 15, 2012 10:42 p.m.

As the water temperatures continue to rise, local fishing is only going to continue to get better.

I believe that most anglers who are making their first trip out for the year are going to be surprised at the costs. At just about every local launching facility the prices have been raised.

At one of my favorite destinations I’ve seen the price double within a five-year period. As much as I try to ignore these changes and come up with my own reasonable excuses, it’s getting harder each year, as the costs are not going up by just a quarter — or even a dollar — anymore.

Some facilities have even gone as far as charging a separate fee for weekend use, penalizing those who choose to take their boats out over the weekend.

I’ve never quite understood launching fees. Seldom, if ever, do anglers tailgate in the parking lot, or make use of existing facilities. I’m sure there are costs associated with each facility, but I’m really starting to wonder how much is too much.

Consequently, I’ve been forced to search out surrounding facilities that charge a little less. My findings are that there really are very few options out there other than paying the fee. You could buy a yearlong pass, but then you’re forced to try and get your money’s worth.

So, for now, I’m prepared to pay a little extra, but that doesn’t mean I like it!

Delta Report

The largemouth bass bite is wide open with numbers and size being caught.

All presentations are working well right now — craw-colored, lipless crankbaits are working especially well. The next full moon should bring another group of big fish up shallow to spawn.

New Melones Lake

Trout fishing continues to be good. Anglers are catching them on Power Bait and inflated worms combined with marshmallows. Anglers trolling for trout have been doing well while trolling the top 25 feet. The hot lures have been Apex lures and Cop Cars in shad imitating patterns.

Bass fishing is picking up as a lot of fish have been cruising the shallows looking for areas to spawn. Senko’s have been working very well as a lot of fish are being caught while roaming the banks.

Lake Don Pedro

Fishing has picked up lately with trout being caught while fishing the top 25 feet of water. Mexican Gulch, Jenkins Hill, Laughlin Island, and Middle Bay are areas that are producing plenty of nice fish.

For the king salmon target, Hatch Creek, Six Bit Gulch and Woods Creek, target depth from 30 to 60’ rolling shad or anchovies.

Bass fishing is fair, as anglers are catching a lot of fish while fishing Senko’s and shaky head worms.

New Hogan

Not much attention has been given to this lake, it’s one my personal favorite springtime destinations. How can anyone argue paying a $4 launch fee to fish gin-clear water during spawning season?

Small schools of bass can be found making their way into the backs of coves and easily enticed with a shaky head worm, green pumpkin.

If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, this is the place to be right now during the week.

Lake Amador

Lake owners continue to plant large amounts of trout into the lake. Power bait fished on the bottom as well as under a bobber is the going technique.

Bass fishing has started to pick up as anglers are starting to get a few while fishing crankbaits and jigs.

While the trout are still shallow large trout imitating swimbaits are sure to entice a few followers at the least.

Tip of the Week

One of hottest baits to hit the scene a few years ago was the Gary Yamamoto Senko.

As reluctant as I was to join the Senko craze, I was out-fished by so many anglers using Senkos that I was forced to add into my arsenal.

One of my pet peeves when using Senkos has been their durability, as they usually are destroyed after catching just one fish. I’ve since been turned onto a wacky rigging tool in order to slip an O-ring onto the Senko for wacky rigging presentations. The tool has since paid for itself, as on some occasions I can catch up to five fish with one Senko.

For those who are unwilling to pay for such a tool, I’m sure with a little ingenuity most can make their own version of the tool. The tool itself is nothing more than a hollowed out cylinder that an O ring can be threaded onto and rolled onto a Senko.


To contact Jarod Ballardo, email

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