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Hoping for fruitful fall on the water
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Manteca resident Frank Alva Ayala, 22, recently snared this striped bass at 1:47 in the morning at Mossdale Marina. The bass measured out at 25 inches and 4 pounds, 4 ounces.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I do believe I’m seeing early signs of fall.

It started a few weeks ago when I noticed it getting darker a lot earlier than normal. The other night, the sky turned orange red as the sun was going and this morning it was a little cooler than normal.

These are all indicators to me that we’re definitely beginning to change seasons. Fall is a great time to be on the water. Like every other season the fish start biting a little differently.

What I like the most about fall is the abundance of fish willing to bite. On the Delta, you could possibly catch a striped bass, largemouth bass, and a salmon — all on the same bait — between the months of October and December.

Unfortunately, those years don’t come along too often. The last couple of years haven’t been that great during the fall. Hopefully this year will be a little different.

Delta Report

Bass is good on the Delta, as lots of fish are being caught. Lately, the problem for a vast majority of anglers is finding fish over two pounds. For big fish anglers are capitalizing on top-water reaction strikes.

For numbers of fish anglers are catching them both flipping and tossing reaction baits. Bluegill fishing remains good in the backs of dead end sloughs and in and around boat docks. Catfishing also remains good for anglers using cut bait throughout the Delta.

New Melones Lake

Night fishing under a submersible light has been the key to catching trout once the sun goes down. Anglers are dropping their lights down to 20 feet and then fishing between 30 and 50 feet below the light.

Kokanee fishing has gotten tougher lately as those that are being caught are as deep as 120 feet and very finicky. A lot of smaller bass are being caught, as the bigger fish are being caught deep off main lake points or during the early morning hours.

Catfishing remains good at night for anglers fishing off the bank while using anchovies, mackerel, and sardines. Bluegills continue to provide constant action throughout the lake. There are some crappie being caught by anglers fishing around submerged trees in Bear Cove and Coyote Creek.

Night fishing under a submerged light around the trees seems to be the most productive tactic.

   Lake Don Pedro

Several limits of fat rainbow trout are being reported by those fast trolling Chucker T heavy spoons from the Dam to Schoolhouse Point, the Big Creek Arm and from Big Oak Island to Middle Bay.

Anglers are trolling between 25 to 45 feet. The key is to find the bait as many of the trout being caught are actively feeding on shad. Bass fishing is good for anglers that understand how to fish for schooling fish and know where to locate them.

Currently, there are large schools of bass working throughout the lake with an occasional school found pushing shad to the surface. Surface baits are working for the schools that are shallow and drop shotted baits are working for the deeper schools.

Lake Tulloch   

  Smallmouth bass have been providing excellent action for anglers fishing late and early with top-water lures. Once the sun is high try switching to small plastic baits fished deep, shaky head worms, darter heads, and drop shotted Robo Worms in either a craw or shad pattern should produce good results.

Lake Pardee

Anglers are catching trout early in the morning with several limits being reported by trollers. The catfish have started to bite during the day on cut bait and clams. In order to catch catfish anglers are focusing on limited shade found along the shore from overhanging trees.

Bass fishing remains good for anglers fishing top water baits during the morning hours and small plastic baits during the day.

Tip of the Week

Having a sharp hook is very important. Never trust a lures hooks right out of the box. For a couple of dollars you can replace stock treble hooks with quality hooks increasing your hook up percentage.

It’s important when finding replacements that you purchase the proper size as some lures will not run correctly with oversized or undersized hooks. A good measure of a hooks sharpness is to run the hook point across a fingernail and if doesn’t catch it’s not sharp enough.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail