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Pick your fish species this winter
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Fishing in the winter is tough.

The bites more than likely are going to be few and far apart. The good thing about where we live is that we can easily switch to a different species of fish.

For example, the largemouth bass may be tougher to catch during the winter, but the spotted bass are usually easiest to catch in the winter. The trout are a lot more active in the winter, and the striped bass are also making their final run through most of the Delta.

There are choices for those who just want to catch a fish. In the past, I stuck with one species, but not anymore.

Like a lot of you, I’m going to go where the fish are biting. For me that means heading up to the lakes for trout or spotted bass. Both those fish are the most active during the winter months and fairly easy to catch. It’s also a lot easier to stay out in the cold when you’re catching fish.    

When I think about fishing in the winter, I immediately think about lighter lines and slowing down.

For bass, a slower presentation is much more effective than a fast one. The lighter lines are a lot more sensitive, less visible and sink a lot faster than heavier lines. As far as line types, you can’t go wrong with fluorocarbon lines. They’re super sensitive and are advertised to be invisible to fish.

Delta Report

Fishing for bass is always hit or miss this time of year, as their metabolism has slowed way down. The water temperatures have also dropped down into the 40s in some places on the Delta, making it even tougher. Jigs are the bait of choice either in black and blue or shades of brown or black.

Striper fishing continues to be tough as very few stripers are being caught locally.

New Melones Lake

Trout fishing continues to be great along the banks of Glory Hole Cove and Angles Cove. Anglers are using Power Bait in rainbow or chartreuse, or a night crawler/scented marshmallow combo. Make sure that your bait is floating off the bottom as that seems to be the method of successful anglers.

Anglers fishing out of boats are also having decent action while drifting live minnows under a bobber. There have also been reports of a few brown trout mixed in with the rainbows.

Lake Camanche

Trout fishing is good, as anglers are catching them on and off the bank.  North Shore bank anglers are having the best of luck right now while catching limits of Trout up to two pounds on both Power Bait and Power Eggs.

Bass fishing remains tough for anglers fishing off the bank. Most of the bass being caught are by those fishing from a boat equipped with a fish finding device. 

Lake Don Pedro

The trout at Don Pedro continue to provide anglers with steady action. Currently they can be found from the surface down to 25 feet deep. Mexican Gulch, Big Creek arm, Six Bit Gulch and the area around the Flume all seem to be loaded with fish.

Vance’s Slim Willie and crawler/combo or in tandem with an Ex-Cel green back shad is a very good set-up for rainbows right now in the 2-pound range. 

Lake Amador

Anglers continue to be pleased with the trout bite. The banks have been filling up fast so make sure to get there early.

Power Bait fished off the bottom is still the best method for catching Trout at Lake Amador. There are several weekly plants going on which have put some of the lakes larger bass on the prowl. 

Tip of the Week

When faced with tough conditions, such as cold muddy water, it’s important that there be some changes made in lure selection and presentation. Most people look down into the water thinking, “how can a fish possibly see my lure?”

A lot of times the muddy water that we see from standing above the surface only extends a few feet below the surface. The only true way to know this is to stick a camera down there or swim down and take a look for yourself.

Personally, I try to fish a little deeper than normal and keep close to grassy or weedy areas. The grass and weeds help filter the floating particles and can actually help create a clearing beneath the surface.

I also prefer to fish with baits that have some chartreuse in them or are dark such as the black and blues, glowing baits can also be excellent when fishing dirty or stained water. Glowing baits not only glow in the dark but also glow in muddy or stained water.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, email