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Trusting your instincts may be the best plan

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POSTED January 19, 2018 12:28 a.m.

My first tournament of 2018 is in the books. 

Fishing on Lake Oroville was tougher than I can remember. I was fortunate to be able pre-fish a day before the lake went off limits. Fishing was tough then, but nothing like on tournament day. 

If you were to ask any tournament angler, he or she would agree that fishing always seems to be tougher on tournament day. Personally, I like to stay as intuitive as I can, while doing my best to forget about past experiences on the water and let my instincts tell me where my next cast will be. It seems like catching fish or finding fish happens easiest when we’re just out fishing without the pressure of competition or prize money at stake.

Anglers who don’t crack under pressure and are willing to abandon their plans are the ones that we all see on TV or in our magazines. It’s easier said than done, but sometimes “going with your gut,” as they say, is the best plan.    


Delta Report

Fishing has been fair. Bass anglers are having to slow down as the water temperature is still cold. Anglers catching bass are targeting deep holes that are void of current with jigs and other small plastics. 

Striper fishing is picking up as the water temperatures are a little warmer than usual for this time of year. The best action for striped bass seems to be around the Rio Vista area for anglers that are fishing live and cut bait for them.  


Lake New Melones

Trout fishing has slowed down a bit but anglers are still bringing in limits. The hot bait has been Power Bait. Trollers are catching fish up shallow but they have been a lot smaller than the ones caught off the bank. Because of this, a lot of boaters have chosen to drift live minnows under a bobber in the backs of coves in order to target the bigger trout. Angels Cove and Glory Hole Cove have been the hot areas for trout. 

Bass fishing remains consistent as the bass have moved deeper. The bigger bass are still being caught by swimbaits as they are definitely following the trout up shallow. For numbers, try targeting points and backs of creeks with soft plastics and jigs. The bite for numbers of smaller bass is great for anglers targeting submerged wood and drop-offs.   


Lake Don Pedro

The trout bite is good for anglers fishing from the surface down to 25 feet deep. Anglers are targeting the bigger fish that are combing the bank while using side planers and trolling a variety of shad imitating lures. Anglers fishing off the bank for trout are doing well while using Power Bait. 

Bass fishing has slowed right now as anglers are struggling to find a consistent bite anywhere on the lake. There have been a few anglers that have been able to catch fish on spoons while searching for schooling fish. 



Lake Amador

Heavy loads of trout are being planted into the lake on what seems like a daily basis. Anglers fishing off the bank are doing well while using Power Bait either fished off the bottom or beneath a bobber.


Lake Camanche

Fishing is good for trout as anglers are catching trout both out of the pond and in the lake. For those fishing the lake, North and South Shore day use areas are producing limits.

Bass fishing remains tough as most anglers are going after trout. For those searching for bass I recommend either a drop shot or football head jig. Favorite areas for me this time of year are island tops and main lake points. 


Lake Pardee

The lake is currently closed and is scheduled to re-open on Feb. 15


Tip of the Week

Something that I like to keep in my boat is a small tube of clear silicone. Silicone is great for sealing up any unexpected water leaks and can even be used to waterproof plastic baits such as top-water frogs.


To contact Jarod Ballardo email

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