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From lake to dinner table
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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?” 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 due to pollution and water quality. 

The best tasting fish can be caught in just about all of our lakes that are fed by the Mokelumne or Stanislaus River. The higher up the body of water is the deeper it is, which 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 in order for them to grow at an accelerated rate. As a result, their meat is very fatty and not as firm as a wild fish. 

My preference in species is spotted bass between one and two 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. The bass 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 — 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

Anglers trolling for trout are catching a few while trolling between 20 and 30 feet deep around the Bridge. Fishing for trout and kokanee has slowed down a bit. As the water temperatures continue to drop look for the trout fishing to improve. 

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

Fishing for kokanee is great for those who are trolling between 50 and 75 feet deep. Anglers trolling for kokanee are trolling hootchies behind a dodger. It’s been really important to keep an eye on your electronics as they have been fluctuations throughout the day in depth. 

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 between 30 and 40 feet deep. Trout fishing has slowed down, anglers trolling are finding them between 40 and 60 feet deep while fishing with Speedy Shiners. 

Lake Pardee

Trout fishing continues to be tough. Anglers trolling 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. Some of the 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

One of the biggest mistakes anglers make this time of year is looking at their calendars when deciding what to fish for. Early fall is a time of year when you would be surprised at what you could catch. 

There’s no telling what’s biting sometimes and you have to be prepared for just about everything. I’ve learned to always have a topwater lure tied on from now until the water temperature drops down into the 50s.

To contact Jarod Ballardo email