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Mickey Mouse boots make winter fishing bearable
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The cold mornings are finally making anglers wonder where fall went.

Winter fishing isn’t my favorite time of year to fish for obvious reasons, but it can be made more bearable for those who come prepared for the cold.

Over the years, I’ve created a small list of my favorite winter fishing items.

I hate having cold feet and have gone through great lengths to find a solution. It was in the Army where I was issued a pair of cold weather rubber boots commonly known as “Mickey Mouse Boots.”

As ridiculous as the boots look, they continue to be my favorite cold weather boot.

I was able to buy a pair off of eBay several years ago for under $20 and have never had cold feet again.

Fishing gloves are another must-have item. I’ve tried a lot of different pairs over the years and the most comfortable for me have been gloves that are fleece lined and are not full fingered.

You can usually buy them for less than $15 and they hold up very well.

A good beanie is another item that I make sure to have with me.

I prefer the fleece beanies over the cotton or wool as they are usually more comfortable and stay dry a lot longer than other materials.

The last item that I always make sure to store is either a helmet or Save Phace Mask worn while driving my boat from spot to spot.

A motorcycle helmet can make for an extremely comfortable ride but can take up a lot of storage space. Save Phace masks are a lot more practical and a lot less expensive. They also can be stored just about anywhere.  

Delta Report
Bass fishing continues to be tough on the Delta.

As the water temperatures drop below 60 degrees, it’s important to slow down your presentation as bass become real lethargic.

A good bait for bass during the months of November and December is a black or blue 3/8 oz. Triple Rattleback Jig.

Striper fishing continues to pick up for those that are stumbling across schools of fish that are making their way through the system. Most anglers are choosing to fish the main channels or around the outside of the many flooded islands found throughout the Delta.

A good place to start is around the breaks of flooded islands right as the tide begins to go out.

New Melones Lake
Fishing for trout continues to be slow but should get better shortly as the lake continues to cool.

The Department of Fish and Game have started its weekly trout plants, which have helped create a fair bite. Power Bait under a bobber or inflated Nightcrawlers fished on the bottom has been the trick lately.

Trollers are fishing down to 25 feet while dragging shad imitating lures. Bass fishing has been slow for a lot of anglers who are struggling to catch many fish right now.

For numbers anglers are targeting schools of fish found at a variety of different depths or tossing large swimbaits in hope of imitating one of the many trout being planted.       

Lake Don Pedro
Fishing on the lake is slow right now as both the bass and trout bite have really died down. Just like last year many anglers are heading to nearby New Melones as the action is better right now for both species.

As our temperatures become more consistent look for the lake to turn over and the fishing to improve.  

New Hogan Lake
Bass fishing has been steady for angers fishing small plastics. Anglers are also doing well on jigs and shad imitating crank baits. Striped bass fishing is good to fair for anglers fishing the early morning hours.

Anglers fishing for Striped Bass are using Hopkin Jigs or using cut bait.

Lake Camanche
Anglers are trolling near Hat Island and Little Hat Island between 30 and 35 feet with shad imitating lures are catching trout as well as those fishing the South Shore Pond.  Bass fishing is good in the Causeway for anglers fishing with brown jigs.

Tip of The Week  
One of the biggest problems anglers have when storing their hooks is rust.

A friend of mine told me to toss in a few of those little gel packs that sometimes come within packages that are sensitive to moisture.

The gel packs actually work great and should be placed in all your tackle boxes to avoid rust.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail