For the first time this year I wore my beanie to work.
The mornings have gotten colder as nighttime temperatures seem to be dropping rapidly. For the fish, it can only mean one thing — winter is coming. I’ve always been interested in what the fish were doing throughout the seasons. In particular, understanding the effect cooling water has on bass, and most importantly their food source.
Typically, the bite slows down as the water drops below 60 degrees. As the water temperatures drop, so does the metabolism of a bass. As a result, they’re not really interested in chasing a bait. Some will catch them on moving baits all year long, but the most consistent bite is usually by those fishing slow-moving baits.
It’s a tough transition for power fisherman to slow down and drag a jig or any other type of bottom bait. A lot of anglers I know park their boats for the season and spend the winter months preparing their tackle for the spring and attending boat shows. Some choose to target other species of cold-water fish. I usually do all the above.
This year, pending some repairs to my boats trailer, I plan on taking it to Arizona. The 80-degree days in December will be like early spring over there.
There is still a top-water bite for bass. Anglers are still catching a lot of numbers on crankbaits. Stripers are schooling up baitfish around most flooded islands and deep tulle points. Some anglers are choosing to target stripers with big topwater baits while others are drifting live bluegills.
I’ve been throwing glide baits recently with good results. River 2 Sea makes a great glide bait called the S Waver. Bass Pro Shops has a similar bait that works just as well for striped bass at a lower price.
As the salmon are making their way through the system it’s not uncommon to hear about an angler fishing for bass hook into a salmon. On my last trip, while fishing around Franks Tract, I had a big salmon follow my crawdad-colored crankbait right to my boat.
New Melones Lake
Bass fishing remains good for those who can locate deep schools of bass as far down as 45 feet deep. Anglers are drop-shotting and dragging jigs once finding a school of fish that are feeding on schools of bait found off the main lake points.
Fishing for trout has been fair for anglers that are trolling from 30 to 50 feet deep with Speedy Shiners.
Lake Don Pedro
Trout fishing is good on the lake for anglers trolling heavy spoons at between 35 and 45 feet deep. The swim bait bite for bass is starting to pick up. Anglers are finding big fish near or around main lake points. Brown or green pumpkin jigs are working well for fish up to 3 pounds while fished around points.
There is also a decent top-water bite early in the morning. Drop-shotting is also productive as there are many schools of bass to be found between 30 and 50 feet deep.
The trout plants have begun on the lake, and they haven’t disappointed anglers. Anglers are catching their limits while fishing a variety of baits and techniques. One of the most popular and still the most effective is using Powerbait either fished off the bottom or just below the surface. One of my favorite colors has been the standard yellow Power Bait.
The trout plants on the lake have started. Anglers looking to catch a limit of trout are doing well while fishing around the South Shore Marina and the South Shore Pond.
Bass fishing is fair for anglers fishing drop-shotted worms and jigs down to 30 feet deep.
Tip of the Week
As much as I try and buy name-brand baits, I’ve been surprised lately how good some of the imitations have gotten. I recently purchased an off-brand bait and the only difference was the hooks and split rings.
To contact Jarod Ballardo email firstname.lastname@example.org.