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Eating what you catch: Tastes depend on lakes
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Every once in a while I run into people who talk about eating their catch.

Usually, the first question I ask is, “Where did you go fishing?” Aside from all the warnings about mercury found in all local bodies of water, there really is a difference in taste from place to place.

I rarely eat my catch, but every once in a while I do bring a few home for the dinner table. In my lifetime of fishing, I’ve eaten fish from just about every local body of water.

Unfortunately, my two favorite places to fish have been eliminated from my dinner table. The best-tasting fish can be caught in just about all of our lakes that are fed by the Mokelumne or Stanislaus rivers.

The higher up the body of water is and the deeper it is usually equals better-tasting fish. As far as fish selection, I try to avoid the bigger older fish.

I also don’t like planted trout. Planted trout are raised in ponds and fed pellet food for most of their lives. Their meat is not as firm and tastes like a pond fish, which I find very unpleasant.

My preference in species is spotted bass between 1-2 pounds. As far as recipes go, you can’t go wrong with filets breaded and fried in olive oil.   

Delta Report
Bass fishing has started to pick up once again. Fish are feeding heavily on baitfish, leading some to believe that the fall bite has already started.

With the cool night and longer days bass do start to feed in preparation for a long winter. A variety of baits have been working right now, reaction baits have been bringing in large numbers of fish.

While flipping baits such as sweet beavers and brush hogs have been bringing in the bigger fish. Striper fishing has also started to pick up as some small schools have been showing up, look for the bite to really pick up as the water temperatures drop even further.  

New Melones Lake
Trout fishing seems to be the best at night under submersible lights. Anglers trolling for trout are catching them between 20 and 30 feet deep around the under the Stevenot Bridge.

Bass fishing remains fair, Carolina rigged plastics have been working well. Bluegill and crappie continue to bite well in the backs of coves and around any floating structure.

Catfish have been providing action for those willing to soak their bait through the night. Clams and chicken livers have been working well.  

Lake Don Pedro
Trout fishing is great for those who are trolling between 30 and 35 feet deep. Anglers are using a variety of different baits to catch trout. The most popular bait right now seems to be a Chucker T nickel or silver spoon.

Bass fishing is steady with a lot of smaller fish being caught from the shoreline down to 20 feet deep. Anglers fishing for bass are doing best in the early morning hours while fishing around main lake points.
Lake Camanche
This past weekend really slowed down the fishing for a lot of anglers as the boat traffic made fishing tough. Bass fishing is good early in the morning, top water lures and jigs have been working well lately.

Try fishing around points as bass can be found schooling down to depths of 35-40 feet. Trout fishing has slowed down, anglers are trolling deep in order to find them between 40-50 feet.

Lake Pardee
Trout fishing continues to be tough; trollers are hooking up while fishing between 30 and 60 feet deep.

Catfishing has slowed a little bit, but the bite remains good for anglers fishing cut bait in the south end coves. Bass fishing is fair. Key areas are around isolated islands with jigs and worms. Topwater baits are working well in the morning and evening hours.

Tip of the Week
With Labor Day being one of the last holidays of the summer, there’s surely going to be a lot of people out on the water this weekend. If you’re planning on fishing suggest getting on the water early in the morning and getting off the water before the crowd shows up.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail