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Local waters now ripe for fishing
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From now until mid-May, local fishing is at its best if you were to ask me.

After that, there are still a lot of active fish to be caught, but it just seems like this time of year is better than any other — especially for largemouth bass. The bass are in all three stages of the spawn, making them easy to catch.

The bluegills are also making their way onto spawning flats. They generally spawn a little later than the bass, and the striped bass are also moving through the Delta to spawn.

In the lakes, the kokanee are providing steady action for anglers trolling. The trout are also actively feeding alongside the kokanee. There’s really no body of water around us without active fish willing to bite a passing lure or bait.

Unfortunately for me, this is also the busiest time of the year for just about everything I’m involved in outside of fishing. So, my friends have been torturing me lately with pictures of their catches and stories of fish jumping in the boat.

Hopefully this weekend I can sneak out and get in on some of the action that I’ve been hearing about. If not, there’s always next weekend. One thing is for sure, I’m pretty much going crazy, as each day of the week seems like the perfect day to go fishing!  

Delta Report

Bass fishing has really turned on. The bass are biting on a variety of different baits. The always-productive Senko is working just as good as ever, as anglers are finding fish both inside and outside of the weeds and tulles.

There are still plenty of fish to be caught on reaction baits, but for the big ones anglers are having the best luck flipping or pitching baits around vegetation.

Don’t dismiss the top-water bite. There are plenty of fish in post spawn making them very protective towards anything passing over their fry. Snagproof frogs and Zara Spooks are great baits this time of year. 

New Melones Lake

The kokanee bite is red hot, as anglers are catching easy limits of fish while trolling between 36 and 60 feet deep throughout the lake. Anglers catching kokanee are using hootchies with shoe peg corn for their limits.

The hardest part about catching kokanee is keeping them on the hook. Their mouths are very soft making them hard to land, and they usually go crazy the closer they get to the boat making them even harder to keep on the hook.

Bass are being caught by reaction baits as well as jigs. The bigger bass have been caught while using jigs and dragging Carolina Rigs along the bottom. Big catfish are also being caught by those fishing coves with running water in them. Supposedly, the catfish are stacking up in the backs of these coves waiting for an easy meal brought to them through the spring run off the lake has been getting.

Lake Don Pedro

Fishing for trout, king salmon, and kokanee has really started to pick up for a lot of anglers. For king salmon try fishing 30-60 feet deep from Buzzard Point to Big Oak Island to Jenkins Hill.

Small-rolled anchovies, shad, Sockeye Slammers or small Ex-Cel’s are working well. Trout are being found on the top 20 feet while trolling traditional shad patterned lures. Kokanee are being caught from 25 to 30 feet deep. Lately the hot bait for kokanee has been an Uncle Larry’s red tiger tipped with Pautzke pink fire corn.

Lake Camanche

Anglers trolling for trout are trolling the top 20 feet of water for their limits. Fishing for bass continues to get better as the bigger females are starting to show up on the beds found throughout the lake. Make sure to practice catch and release when landing a fish that was taken off a bed. 

Lake Pardee

Fishing for trout and kokanee is good for anglers trolling up river from 20 to 30 feet deep. Bass fishing is also improving as bass are being caught all over the lake. A lot of bass have made their way shallow to spawn. Anglers finding spawning bass are catching them while dragging worms and jigs through bedding areas.

Tip of the Week

Spring is the time of year when the bites can be hard to feel. A lot of times while dragging a bait across a spawning bed the fish will just pick up the bait and move it off the bed. Because of that, it’s very important to pay attention to your line.

Know when your line has made contact with the bottom and keep a close eye on it for any unusual movement.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, email