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Informative boat show well worth trip to Sacramento
Justin Clayton caught this 23-inch, 4-pound trout on Dec. 27 at Lake Camanche. - photo by Photo by Susan Clayton

January is the month for boat shows.

If you’ve never been to a boat show and are looking for something to get you out of the house, going to one is a pretty good idea. Not only can you see up close the new boats and boating equipment, you’ll be able to actually talk to professional fishermen who have first-hand experience operating the boat that you’re interested in.

Not being in the market for a new boat, I usually go straight towards the tackle booths to see what kind of deals are being offered.

Before that, I make sure to look at the show schedule, as there are usually hourly seminars being given by various local and sometimes national professional anglers at the display tank. The display tank is a marvel in its own; it’s usually stocked with local fish species for everyone to see up close.

The anglers presenting at the display tank use the tank to demonstrate their favorite fishing techniques and are open to any questions the crowd may have. I compare a boat show to a fair, there are many things to do besides just look at boats.

If you’re one who likes to take home souvenirs there are many refrigerator magnets, bumper stickers, and free samples to be collected from a variety of outdoor organizations.

The closest boat show to the Central Valley is held at Cal Expo in Sacramento. The dates are Jan. 21-24. Admission for adults is $15, and for children under 15 it’s free. Parking is $8 per vehicle.

Delta Report
Bass anglers have been catching small limits of bass while fishing rip baits on the outside edges of grass beds. This time of year bass anglers typically search for places that are a little warmer than others such as dead-end sloughs and out of current areas.
Striper fishing is slower than usual for this time of year. There are still fish being caught but very few limits are being reported. Those catching them are tossing chrome and blue rattle traps around Mildred Island and Franks Tract.

New Melones Lake
The Trout fishing continues to be red hot with anglers catching trout between 1 and 3 pounds. Both anglers on and off the bank are catching fish.

A variety of baits are working well, anglers trolling are fishing between fiftee15-20 feet of water, and anglers fishing the banks are tossing Rapalas or fishing with Power Bait.

Bass fishing has remained tough for anglers trying to catch fish over 1 pound, even the small ones are far and few between. A jig worked slowly along the bottom would be my first choice.   

Lake Don Pedro
Many anglers fishing Don Pedro this time of year are focusing their attention on trout which has been good for anglers fishing off the bank.

Trout are being caught on Power Bait and gold Kastmasters. Anglers fishing for Bass have been forced to slow down their presentations and live with only a few bites a day as the fishing has gotten really tough.

Lake Camanche
Fishing for trout is really good. Recently, Justin Clayton of Manteca caught a 4-pound trout while fishing the lake out of a boat.

There are many trout being caught around the North shore area and inside the pond. Anglers are using Power Bait or casting Kastmasters along the bank for trout ranging from 1 to 4 pounds.

Lake Amador
Lake Amador is almost a sure thing this time of year, as it’s relatively a small lake that is heavily stocked this time of year with its famous Cut Bow Trout.

A Cut Bow Trout is a genetic cross between a Rainbow and Cutthroat Troutm which creates not only a larger-than-average trout, but a fierce fighter as well.

Power Bait is hard to beat this time of year. You really don’t need anything elaborate as the trout usually are found from the surface down to 10 feet deep.  

Tip of the Week
When faced with tough conditions such as cold muddy water, it’s important that there be some changes made in lure selection and presentation. Most people look down into the water thinking “How can a fish possibly see my lure?”

A lot of times, the muddy water that we see from standing above the surface only extends a few feet below the surface.

The only true way to know this is to stick a camera down there or swim down and take a look for yourself. Personally, I try to fish a little deeper than normal and keep close to grassy or weedy areas.

The grass and weeds help filter the floating particles and can actually help create a clearing beneath the surface. I also prefer to fish with baits that have some chartreuse in them or are dark such as the black and blues, glowing baits can also be excellent when fishing dirty or stained water.

Glowing baits not only glow in the dark but also glow in muddy or stained water.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail