If any of you have been out on the Delta, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve seen a sea lion while out there.
I’m not sure when they started following the schools of fish migrating from the ocean, but their population has increased. I used to see them show up with the schools of striped bass in the fall and winter, but now I’m seeing them all year round — even in places that are far from the main channel.
While fishing some backwaters recently, I heard that unmistakable sound of a sea lion surfacing for air from a distance. Minutes later, the sea lion surfaced no more than 10 feet in front of my boat. What surprised me the most was that I was only 5 feet from the bank.
Being alone, I wasn’t taking any chances and moved about 200 yards down the bank and resumed fishing. While looking back to see if the sea lion had followed me, I saw it feeding on a bass that it had obviously pulled from the spawning area that I was fishing.
In all my time fishing the Delta, I’ve seen them eat catfish, carp, striped bass, but never largemouth. I’m not sure if there will ever be something done to eradicate the increasing population of sea lions in the Delta.
One thing is for sure, they’re having an impact on the populations of fish that we all like to catch.
The big bass are biting, as the spring bite is really starting to gain momentum. Most anglers are catching nice limits while fishing throughout the Delta. Franks Tract continues to be a popular area with many of the other flooded islands becoming great producers as well. Popular baits are jigs, crankbaits, and pitching soft plastics.
Crappie fishing on the Delta is also turning on for a lot of anglers fishing around Whiskey Slough while using Minnie jigs and medium-sized minnows.
New Melones Lake
The trout bite has slowed down this past week, as many anglers are struggling to catch numbers. Bank fishermen are fishing off main lake points with Power Bait for their fish while anglers trolling are finding fish between 20 and 40 feet deep.
Bass fishing has started to really pick up as there are some fish that have made their way into the spawning areas. The lake is dropping though, which has caused many of them to back off until the lake levels stabilize.
Lake Don Pedro
Trout fishing continues to improve for anglers fishing Don Pedro. Kokanee are also starting to show up in and around Fleming Bay. Trout are being caught by those trolling within the top 25 feet with Uncle Larry’s Spinners.
Large swimbait fish are being caught for those working points. The swimbait of choice seems to be the Huddleston Deluxe in a trout pattern. For those targeting smaller bass, crankbaits and jigs have been producing decent limits of fish.
Trout fishing is good at Lake Pardee. Most fish are being caught between 5-10 feet deep. Planted trout have remained in and around the launch area providing anglers fishing the bank with decent action.
Anglers trolling are using flashers trailed with night crawlers. Anglers fishing the bank are doing well using Power Bait.
Of all the local lakes, bass fishing for numbers has really turned on at Lake McClure. There are a lot of bass being caught by anglers fishing from the bank to 20 feet deep with just about anything that they throw at them.
Senkos and underspins seem to be most productive baits. The lake is dropping a foot a day causing the bedding fish to move off.
Tip of the Week
I recently got into a little trouble while disassembling a favorite reel of mine. I ended up forgetting how the brake assembly went back into place.
After several failed searches on YouTube, I was able to search up the reel manufacturer’s website and found a parts diagram. When all else fails, there’s usually a parts diagram on the manufacturers website that can save you a lot of time and grief.
To contact Jarod Ballardo email firstname.lastname@example.org.