If you’ve never witnessed a lake being planted with trout, it’s definitely a sight to see.
The truck that carries the fish usually pulls up to a predetermined spot and either deploys a hose into the water or backs the truck right up to the water’s edge. The driver then gets out, opens a valve at the rear or side of the truck, and releases all the fish into the lake.
This, of course, causes just about every angler in sight to gravitate towards where the fish are being released. One would think that the last thing on a trout’s mind was to eat after being flushed into a lake. I’ve learned that’s not always the case.
Sometimes the trout are starved before planting and are willing to eat just about anything. Other times they are drugged up so that they are less stressed during the trip and usually won’t think about eating for at least 24 hours.
With that said, if I’m fishing on a lake that’s about to be planted I’d like to be there. If you’ve ever watched new fish being added to an established fish tank, there’s an interest by the other resident fish. This often leads to surprise catches. I also don’t want to miss out just in case those fish are hungry.
It’s been foggy in the mornings lately making it difficult for anglers to navigate. For those that are willing to deal with the fog the fishing for both bass and striped bass has been steady.
There are already some signs of the bass starting to feed for the upcoming spawn as angler are catching fish that are full of baitfish and crawdads. Anglers catching bass are fishing slow moving baits along the edges of the tulles.
Striped bass fishing is still good for anglers drifting live bait. Water hyacinth is still a problem as it’s floating just about everywhere.
Lake New Melones
Trout fishing has slowed down a bit but anglers are still bringing in limits. The hot bait has been Power Bait. Trollers are catching fish up shallow but they have been a lot smaller than the ones caught off the bank. Because of this, a lot of boaters have chosen to drift live minnows under a bobber in the backs of coves in order to target the bigger trout. Angels Cove and Glory Hole Cove have been the hot areas for trout.
Bass fishing remains consistent as the bass have moved deeper. The bigger bass are still being caught by swimbaits as they are definitely following the trout up shallow. For numbers try targeting points and backs of creeks with soft plastics and jigs.
The bite for numbers of smaller bass is great for anglers targeting submerged wood and drop offs. Glory Hole Point is still the only paved launch ramp available on the lake.
Lake Don Pedro
The trout bite is good for anglers fishing from the surface down to 25 feet deep. Anglers are targeting the bigger fish that are combing the bank while using side planers and trolling a variety of shad imitating lures. Anglers fishing off the bank for trout are doing well while using Power Bait.
Bass fishing has slowed, as anglers are struggling to find a consistent bite anywhere on the lake. There have been a few anglers that have been able to catch fish on spoons while searching for schooling fish.
Heavy loads of trout are being planted into the lake right now on what seems like a daily basis. Anglers fishing off the bank are doing well while using Power Bait either fished off the bottom or beneath a bobber.
Fishing is good for trout as anglers are catching trout both out of the pond and in the lake. For those fishing the lake, north and south shore day use areas are producing limits. Bass fishing remains tough as most anglers are going after trout.
For those searching for bass I recommend either a drop shot or football head jig. Favorite areas for me this time of year are island tops and main lake points.
The lake is closed and is scheduled to re-open on Feb. 16. Per The Department of Fish and Game, they will be releasing 45,000 pounds of Trout into the lake, 3,000 pounds weekly, beginning on Feb. 16. The fish being released into the lake will be over a pound and a half per fish on average.
Tip of the Week
Something that I like to keep in my boat is a small tube of clear silicone. Silicone is great for sealing up any unexpected water leaks and can even be used to waterproof plastic baits such as topwater frogs.
To contact Jarod Ballardo email firstname.lastname@example.org