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Rain, low-barometer pressure create ideal conditions for fishing
Vince Hurtado of Modesto snared this 7-pound bass on the Delta. - photo by Photo by JAROD BALLARDO
Fishing in the rain isn’t that bad.

It seems like the worse the weather; the better the fishing has been for me. Many people have a hard time believing that fish bite in the rain.

I tell them fish live underwater, and that they aren’t going to get any wetter. The rain, I believe actually helps disguise some noise and makes the fish more active.

Biologists believe that fish react to barometric pressure more than anything, and that low pressure creates the ideal time to catch them. High pressure, on the other hand, makes enticing a fish to bite typically very tough.

For years I’ve heard anglers talk about high pressure and low pressure but, quite honestly, never paid close attention to barometric pressure.

Barometric pressure is simply the weight of the atmosphere over a unit area of Earth’s surface. Rainy, wet days are typically low-pressure days, and sunny clear days are typically high-pressure days.

For shallow-water fish high barometric pressure often forces them deep into cover and makes them very lethargic. Deep-water fish are less affected by high or low pressure, making them ideal targets when the fishing gets tough.  

Delta Report
The clear bright skies have caused a lot of anglers to struggle finding reaction bites lately. In the early morning hour, spinnerbaits, rattle traps and swimbaits are working well. When the sun is high, jigs have been the dominant bait in black and blue or black and red.

Bass have started to move into the shallows along the south corner of Franks Tract but are very spooky. In the weeks to come, the bite should turn wide open, as the water temperatures have reached the mid 50s in most areas.

Striper fishing continues to be tough for a lot of anglers although an occasional keeper can be caught around the Big Break area.

New Melones Lake
There have been several nice, brown trout caught recently by both trollers and bank anglers. Brown trout are believed to be making their migration towards the shallows to spawn.

The rainbow bite continues to be good for anglers both trolling and fishing off the bank. Inflated night crawlers and marshmallows have been working the best lately for anglers fishing off the bank.
Bass fishing remains tough for a lot of anglers; look for groups of fish to be making their way shallow as the water warms up.

Lake Don Pedro

Trout fishing has remained fair regardless of the unstable weather. Most anglers catching trout have been catching their fish while trolling the top 20 feet of water. Bass fishing has been improving slightly as the spawn is right around the corner. Anglers are catching fish while working both shallow and deep with various soft plastics and shad-imitating reaction baits.

Lake Camanche
Trout fishing has been fair to good for many anglers. Most anglers are migrating towards the south shore launch area as several nice trout have been caught in the recent weeks.

Hat Island is another hot spot for anglers fishing with shad imitating Rapala lures. Bass fishing is beginning to pick up as anglers are catching an occasional fish up shallow.

The more successful anglers are staying deep with drop-shotted worms or jigs worked along the bottom.

Lake Amador
Trout fishing is excellent on the lake. Power bait is hard to beat this time of the year on the lake.

For those trolling, try fishing a small shad-imitating lure such as a Yozuri Pin’s Minnow no deeper than five feet.

Bass fishing continues to be slow for a lot of anglers but should be picking up soon. The lake is on the rise right now. Hopefully it will be close to full by the summer.

Tip of the Week
When the fishing gets good, anglers often forget check their line for abrasions. You wouldn’t think about it, but fish’s teeth can actually scour some of the toughest of lines.

When fish bite down on bait they often close their mouths completely, the initial hook set sends the line in an upward motion right against the teeth of the fish often causing a fair amount of damage to overall line strength.

Especially, when deep hooked the line is likely to rub along the upper or lower teeth throughout the duration of the fight.

Check your line often and never assume that it could handle another fish, as the one that breaks your line is often the biggest fish of the day.  

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail