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Water temperatures continue to rise, but so are launching fees
Randy Blankenship of Manteca caught this 6 ½-pound bass on the Delta March 22. - photo by Photo by CHERE BLANKENSHIP
As the water temperatures continue to rise, local fishing is only going to continue to get better.

I believe that most anglers who are making their first trip out for the year are going to be surprised at the costs. Just about every local launching facility has increased their prices.

One of my favorite destinations has now doubled its launching fee within a five-year period.

As much as I try to ignore these changes and come up with my own reasonable excuses, it’s getting harder each year as the costs are not going up by just a quarter or even a dollar.

Some facilities have even gone as far as charging a separate fee for weekend use, penalizing those who actually work during the week.

I’ve never quite understood launching fees, as seldom if ever do anglers tailgate in the parking lot or make use of the existing facilities. I’m sure there are costs associated with running such a facility, but I’m really starting to wonder how much is too much.

I’ve since been forced to search out surrounding facilities that charge a little less, but overall it seems like “they’re all on the same boat!”      

Delta Report
The bite is very good. A lot of quality sized bass have been moving shallow to feed and spawn. The key to catching the bigger fish has been finding not only the right area but being there when the tide is just starting to go out.

This time of year it’s also very important to make several passes over a bank where you just caught a fish. Senko’s, spinner baits and jigs are all good baits right now.

Once the tide bottoms out try fishing the outside weed lines or targeting noticeable clearings within the weed beds.

New Melones Lake
Trout fishing has slowed down as the water temperature is in the low sixties. Bass fishing steadily increases as more and more fish have made their move shallow for the spawn.

Senko’s and baitfish imitating reaction baits are working well from the surface down to 35 feet. It’s been fairly easy for anglers fishing for bass to catch limits of keeper sized bass on small plastics.

Crappie fishing remains fair for those fishing at night while using live minnows.

Lake Don Pedro
The Bass bite has been great lately a lot of reports of anglers catching over 20 fish a day while using rip baits, jigs, and spinnerbaits. For shear numbers the drop shot or shaky head with a 4- to 6-inch Robo Worm worked from the bank down to 30 feet should bring in a lot of fish.

Try searching the bank as well as there is sure to be some fish that have moved shallow for the spawn. The King Salmon bite has turned wide open on the lake.

Most of the kings being caught are less than 15 inches in length but the numbers are there. King Salmon are being caught by anglers trolling from 20 to 100 feet deep.

Lake Pardee
Bass fishing is hit or miss for some anglers. The lake right now is 17 feet below full and is holding at 48 degrees.

Anglers fishing for trout are having success both off the bank and from their boats. Those fishing off the bank are using power bait or marshmallow and salmon egg combos. Anglers from their boats are flat lining, using three to four colors of lead core or drift fishing the River starting at Columbia Gulch and going up as far as Indian Rock.  

New Hogan
Bass are on beds or in ditches adjacent to bedding areas. Shaky head trick worms in green pumpkin is working well right now.

No sign of stripers but there are large schools of Bluegill that can be found around bedding areas which can be caught on worms.  

Tip of the Week
With the price of fuel steadily increasing by lowering your rpm’s and launching closer to your fishing destination a lot of money can be saved.

I truly believe that the increase in fuel prices has made me a better fisherman as I’ve become more reluctant to run around now than I was before. In turn, I made the most out of the water in front of me.  

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail