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Clark Fork offers a different experience
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­Last weekend, I was able to get out with my family for a night of camping.

My parents were camping at Clark Fork Campground, so the wife and I decided to join them. Camping at Clark Fork is a different type of camping than we were used to.

Being that it’s a forest campsite there were very few amenities that most lakeside campsites have. On the other hand, there were some definite advantages.

Just about every campsite was shaded and daily temperatures are usually 20 to 30 degrees cooler than here in the Valley. The nights are especially cool, and you’re surely to be reminded you’re in the middle of a forest by the howling coyotes.

As far as fishing, there is river access where many campers walk down to the river that is planted weekly with trout.

Being an experienced lake fisherman, I was kind of out of my element while trying to hook up with the many trout that were being caught around me.

Apparently, the bite is better during low-light hours and groups of fish can be found behind current breaks. For my next trip to Clark Fork I plan on being better prepared for the camping and fishing conditions.

Spending just a day or two is also not enough to take everything in.

If you would like more information on Clark Fork along with other Stanislaus National Forest Campgrounds, you can visit the website at

Water temperatures are now in the low- to mid-80s making fishing tough for a lot of fishermen.

Bass have been biting lately for those fishing top water and flipping shade pockets. Some smaller bass can be found feeding on schools of bait in Mildred Island.

No reports of any Striper action lately but many anglers are reporting of a good Catfish bite on clams and anchovies. Plenty of Bluegill have made their way shallow and can be caught easily on small worms.  

New Melones Lake
Kokanee are primarily being caught on the lake by anglers trolling deep as deep as 65 feet as the sun gets higher in the day.

For Kokanee anglers are trolling Apex Lures and tipping their lures with shoepeg corn. Bass fishing is good for numbers; there is an excellent top water bite early in the morning and late in the day.

A lot of small fish are being caught despite the receding water levels. Anglers are targeting main lake points with small jigs and plastics as well as isolated islands.

Fishing the deeper side of the islands seems to be the best right now as the fish can be found bunched up. Bluegill and Crappie continue to bite once found. Many anglers are choosing to target them at night under submersible lights.

For Crappie anglers are using live minnows or crappie jigs, for bluegill anglers are using small worms like red worms or wax worms.

Lake Don Pedro
Anglers are doing well while fishing or rainbow trout. Trout, Kokanee, and King Salmon are being caught between 30 and 50 feet deep. Big Oak Island, Jenkins Hill, and around the Dam have been all productive areas.

Bass fishing has been fair in the early morning hours on top water baits and during the day anglers are catching Bass while fishing deeper with either deep diving crank baits or soft plastics.

Lake Pardee
There are plenty of anglers taking advantage of the early morning trout bite. While at the lake, I saw one angler bring in a nice trout well over 3pounds.

Anglers fishing for trout are primarily trolling down the south arm from 60 to 90 feet deep. Bass fishing is good for anglers fishing top water lures early and late in the day. Jigs fished slowly down to 30 feet deep are catching bass during the day.

There are plenty of bluegill in the backs of coves and especially around wood for those just looking to get bit.

Featured Product
Several years ago I purchased a truck bed net at Orchards Supply for a little under $20. Fed up with the old method, I just couldn’t pass up such a deal.

The net was very easy to use and secured all of our camping items within minutes. What I really liked was that each individual bungee strap could be adjusted to fit just about any load. Its ease of use was also a definite plus.

There are many similar tie-down alternatives out there, the one I purchased is really basic compared to others but for fold up chairs and other light weight items it’s been a great purchase.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail