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Five reasons fishing Delta is addicting
Jesse Vindiola of Valley Springs recently caught this 5.1-pound trout at New Melones Lake. - photo by Photo courtesy of GLORY HOLE SPORTS
After every tough day of fishing the Delta I usually question my decision as to why I choose to fish there over other local bodies of water.

After all, I’m surrounded by some of the best lakes our state has to offer. After giving it some thought, there are several determining factors that come to mind.

For one, it’s the closest body of water from my doorstep. Two, I’ve had days while fishing the Delta that most people can only dream of.

Three, it’s taken me so long to learn my way around the Delta that I can’t abandon it now. Four, with its vast waterways and spots within spots, I still believe that there’s a chance I may find something nobody else has found.

Five, the element of surprise!

With each bite there’s no telling what is on the end of your line.

Throughout the years, I’ve reeled everything from a shoe to a passing salmon. I’ve even witnessed a friend of mine accidentally hooking into a sea lion.

I guess in a way, fishing the Delta has become an addiction of mine.

Last week, I witnessed a young team of boaters hook into what looked like a 10-plus-pound salmon while bass fishing.

Although they didn’t end up landing the fish, they were obviously excited beyond belief, and I seriously doubt they’ll be fishing somewhere else come this weekend.

Delta Report
Fishing the Delta is tough right now, as duck season is in full swing and the bass have remained tight lipped.

Many anglers have been forced to go lighter in order to entice bass. Rip baits have also been a choice of many bass anglers this time of year as the bass usually cannot stand bait suspending right in front of them.

Striper fishing continues to be good as anglers are doing well while trolling or drifting live bait around the many flooded islands found throughout the Delta. Bluegill fishing is excellent just about anywhere where there is wood or docks.

New Melones Lake
Bass fishing continues to be very good for numbers of smaller fish caught on shad imitating lures and plastics. Anglers are also catching fish while spooning through schools of shad.

Trout fishing continues to pick up as anglers trolling from the surface down to 35 feet deep are doing well. Those fishing off the bank are doing well while fishing a small minnow under a bobber.

The trout are actively feeding on schools of shad right now throughout the lake. Some anglers are even choosing to fish a spoon through schools of shad and are catching both bass and trout.

Last week’s big fish was a 5-pound rainbow trout caught by Jesse Vindiola of Valley Springs.

Lake Tulloch
There’s a good trout bite on the lake for rainbows up to 4 pounds. Trollers are using rolled shad, blade/crawlers, or Slim Willies coupled with an ExCel shad imitation lure at depths from 17 to 25 feet from the South Shore channel to Black Creek.  

Lake Don Pedro
There’s a good trout bite on the lake. Anglers are doing well while working from the surface down to 35 feet with a variety of shad imitating lures.

King Salmon are also being caught for those trolling shad or anchovies between 40 and 60 feet deep. The Upper Bay, Woods Creek and in the Tuolumne River arm are all good areas right now to catch King Salmon up to four pounds.

Tip of the Week
A couple years ago, I was talked into getting a Save Phace mask for driving my boat. Before that I used a motorcycle helmet.

Although the helmet worked great, it was very bulky and took us a lot of storage in my boat. After trying out the Save Phace mask I’ve since gotten rid of my motorcycle helmet.

Not only is the Save Phace mask great during the summer months when bugs are plentiful, it’s great during the colder months as well.

It takes up minimal storage and is one of the easiest masks to put on and off. Prices of Save Phace masks have also gone down over the years and can be purchased at most major tackle stores or online at

To contact Jarrod Ballardo, e-mail