By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Anticipation of summer spurs fond memory
Placeholder Image

It’s been a long time since I was a student in school waiting with anticipation for the start of summer.

All I could think about at the time was camping and fishing. It didn’t matter where we went, I just wanted to be out fishing as much as I could. There are many memorable camping trips, but none as memorable as the first time my dad let me take the boat out by myself.

It was a different time back then. By the time I was 13 I already knew how to back the trailer in the water and operate our boat, I was just never allowed to take the boat out on my own.

We were all camping at Lake Amador one summer and my dad, out of nowhere, said “Hey, if you want, go ahead and take out the boat.”

Trying to remain calm and cool I said okay and started loading my stuff into the boat. It was already in the water, so I untied it from the shore and slowly drove out of sight. Once out of sight I drove to my first fishing spot and maybe made five casts before I decided to fish elsewhere. When I got to that spot I made a couple of casts and saw another area I wanted to try.

I basically drove so much that day we had to refuel the boat the next morning. Aside from pretty much running the boat out of gas, I was determined more than ever to someday have my own boat.

Now, I have a boat that holds over 50 gallons of fuel, but I rarely use over 10 gallons. Maybe it’s because I’m the one paying to put the gas back in it! One thing is for sure, I’m still just as excited to start my summer as always.

Delta Report

Plenty of post-spawn fish are being caught on reaction baits. Franks Tract continues to be a good spot for bass. The swimbait bite is starting to improve as the bass are either looking for a big meal or protecting their fry.

Vegetation throughout the Delta is starting to take over and grass lines are forming nicely. On windy days, spinnerbaits are working well in red or white.  

New Melones Lake

The trout bite has all but died, but the kokanee bite has started to pick up. Kokanee are being caught by those trolling anywhere from 50-75 feet deep. Bass fishing has been great on the lake.

Crankbaits, Rip Baits, Rattle Traps, and plastic worms are just a few of the baits that are catching bass. Night-fishing for catfish is also starting to pick up, any major cove or creek arm is a good place to try. Anchovies, sardines, or a ball of night crawlers are always a deadly combination when fishing for catfish.  

Lake Don Pedro

All the talk right now is about the trout. There are easy limits being caught by those trolling blade and crawler combo’s from 50-70 feet deep. Salmon are being caught anywhere from 65-100 feet deep. Anglers having the most success are trolling with frozen shad and anchovies injected with Pro Cure’s bait gels.

The kokanee are also biting and scattered throughout the lake at the same depth as the trout. Bass fishing is still pretty good right now as anglers are doing well early in the day on top water lures. Once the sun is high anglers are tossing jigs and shaky heads.

Lake Camanche

The trout fishing in the pond has slowed down. There still are a few trout being caught on power bait but they’ve been on the small side. Fishing for bass continues to be good.

Anglers are fishing top water in the morning and Senko’s during the day. Several fish can still be found up shallow on spawning beds. Cat fishing has started to improve for anglers fishing off the bank with anchovies or chicken liver. 

Lake Pardee

Trout and kokanee fishing continues to be hit or miss for a lot of anglers. Finding the depth where their holding seems to be the biggest challenge. Bass fishing is good for anglers tossing reaction baits along rock edges. Cat fishing is good, as anglers are catching them while fishing off the bank on cut bait.

Tip of the Week

In my boat I have a compartment where I store miscellaneous tools, small parts, aspirin, and items that may help in case of an emergency.

Two items that have come in handy more than once have been my survival knife and zip lock bags. The survival knife has an assortment of tools that can be used and the zip lock bags have been useful in keeping paperwork or electronics dry. 

To contact Jarod Ballardo, email