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Fly fishing for elusive trout at Clark Fork
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Just as soon as I send this report, I’ll be making my way to Clark Fork for a week of camping with family and friends.

This year is a little different, as I’ve become a little more serious in my pursuit of the elusive trout. Like I mentioned several weeks ago, last year I was one-upped by some fisherman parading around our campsite with a stringer full of trout while making it known to all that they caught them while using flies.

Since then, I’ve been watching all the YouTube videos I can on fly fishing and even found myself wandering into Bass Pro Shops fly-fishing area. I learned a lot in the little time I spent in there and left with about $200 less in my pocket. I did end up purchasing the right rod-and-reel combo for fishing small streams and rivers and enough flies that should last me the whole trip.

The one most important element of fly fishing is mastering the cast. I haven’t casted a fly rod in over 20 years, so I may be reaching for my spinning tackle sooner than I’d like too.

Either way, I’m looking forward to my trip. If I can just land one trout on a fly, it will be my first.

Delta Report   

This past weekend, anglers complained that they couldn’t catch a fish on a top-water frog. Frog fishing is like that; sometimes they just hammer the bait without reserve and other times they just bump it. After about two or three bumps and changing color and cadence I usually abandon the frog if I haven’t caught anything.

Senko’s, Spinnerbaits, and Sweet Beavers are all catching fish. With the weather we have had lately look for shady spots along the bank, or spots closest to deeper water. Fish will either be looking for shade or areas that are close to deep moving water. If you can find shade next to a deep drop your chance of catching a big fish will be increased.  

New Melones Lake

Kokanee catches continue to keep anglers busy as trout fishing has slowed down for the summer. Anglers catching kokanee are fishing the dam area and can be found between 40-50 feet deep.

Trout have been biting for those willing to fish through the night. Night fishermen are reporting catches while soaking Power Bait below a submersible light along the main lake channels.

Bass fishing is still good for those fishing Carolina-rigged baby brush hogs. Most bass are of the smaller version with a bigger fish mixed in occasionally. Morning and evening top water fish are being caught right now on poppers and spook type lures.

Lake Amador

Night fishing for bass is a favorite summertime escape for me. Lake Amador in particular is a small, safe lake which with any cast can produce a personal best. An hour before the sun starts to go down bass habitually will bring schools of shad to the surface which can create some explosive top water action.

The key to catching feeding fish on the surface is patience. With a top-water lure in hand, wait for the fish to start exploding on the surface and then make your cast right into the middle of the attacking fish. This technique will surely produce some of the most explosive top water action. Once the sun goes down I either toss a half-ounce black spinner bait or drag 10-inch Berkeley Power worms.

Then, if fishing through the night as the morning sun starts to break once again fish will be feeding on the surface, get that top-water lure out and repeat the previous pattern. 

Lake Tulloch    

Smallmouth bass have been providing excellent action for anglers fishing late and early with top-water lures. Once the sun is high try switching to small plastic baits fished deep, shaky head worms, darter heads, and drop shotted Robo Worms in either a craw or shad pattern should produce good results.

Boaters Needed

On July 21, the 16th Annual Conroy Oakley Pro-Teen tournament will be held out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island. The purpose of the event is to introduce teens 13 to 19 years old to fishing through a professional style tournament where they will be paired up with a boater for six hours.

Boaters, who fish for free, are needed for the event. For more information, call (925) 684-9775.

Kokanee Derby

The Russ Faught 2nd Annual Kokanee Derby will be taking place Saturday at New Melones Reservoir. The tournament is being held by Central Valley Anglers.

The fee for non-members is $40, and $35 for members. Anglers under the age of 15 fish for free. For more information you can either visit their website at, or you can contact Rick Frisk (209) 727-3509 and (209) 200-6123.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, email