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Much can be learned when fish dont bite
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This week, I had the opportunity to fish a pond that’s pressured daily by visiting vacationers.

During the cooler months, the pond is stocked with trout, making it easy for most fishermen. During the summer months, the pond isn’t stocked, and unfortunately most of the fish that are being caught aren’t released.

The pond reminded me of one I fished as a kid. The fishing was tough, but in order to catch anything, I was forced to think outside the box and use baits and lures that most people weren’t using.

I ended up not catching a whole lot of fish, but I did seem to get more bites than most people fishing the pond. Like the pond I fished as a kid, the fish were found hunkered down in the deepest part of the pond during the day or buried in the thickest cover.

This pond was a definite challenge for me. It’s always nice to catch a lot of fish, but sometimes the most valuable lessons in fishing are learned while searching for just one bite.


Wind has made it hard on some anglers seeking out a top-water bite combined with the cooler mornings we have had lately. Those doing well for bass are using spinnerbaits and buzz baits.

With all the boat traffic recently on the Delta most anglers have chosen to stay home. Fishing off the bank is good for catfish and panfish.

Bluegill and crappie can be found near either brush piles or docks, try using small worms or minnows under a bobber. For catfish, any of the traditional catfish baits are working well while fished off the bottom.

  New Melones Lake

Kokanee catches continue to keep anglers busy, as trout fishing has slowed down for the summer. Anglers catching kokanee are fishing the dam area and can be found between 40-50 feet deep.

Bass fishing is still good for anglers tossing rattle traps and spinnerbaits. Catfishing has really started to pick up for a lot of anglers fishing the night just about anywhere on the lake.

The bluegill bite has been fair to good for those fishing the backs of brushy coves.

Lake Don Pedro

There is a good bite for largemouth bass for those dragging plastics down to 30 feet. Most anglers searching for trout and kokanee are heading to New Melones as the bite is wide open just a few miles away.

Lake Pardee

Summertime is a great time to fish Lake Pardee, fishing for smallmouth bass can be great this time of year. A favorite technique on mine is the use of crickets for smallmouth bass.

Fished either on the bottom or fished just above underwater rock piles almost always provides good action. If choosing to use artificial baits the early morning top-water bite is good, and the mid day jig bite around submersed islands is also another great choice. 

Lake Camanche

The bite is really good for those fishing for bluegill and bass. Bass are being caught just about anywhere on the lake, with rocky points being the best spots.

Lures that are being used are spinnerbaits and crankbaits, while the bigger fish are being caught by those dragging plastics along the bottom.

Bluegills are being caught shallow by those fishing with red worms in the backs of bays.

Lake Amador

Most of the fishing is taking place during the night. Very few anglers are fishing the lake during the daytime.

Anglers are currently catching bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and a few trout all while fishing through the night.

Boaters Needed:

On July 17, the 14th annual Conroy Oakley Pro-Teen Tournament will be held out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island.

The purpose of the event is to introduce teens 13 to 19 years old to fishing through a professional style tournament where they will be paired up with a boater for six hours.

Boaters, who fish for free, are needed. For more information, call (925) 684-9775.

Tip of the Week

I’ve made the mistake more than once of overpaying for launch fees while fishing a new body of water.

Most launches vary in price; it’s often worth the effort to research prices of the various launch facilities before venturing out.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail