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Spawning fish tricky to catch in springtime
Phillip King of Manteca holds up his first-place sturgeon, which measured out at 54 5/8 inches, in the Sturgeon Derby XXVII on Feb. 5 at Sportsmen’s Club, McAvoy Harbor in Bay Point.
What a difference a week can make.

The last couple of days have been absolutely beautiful. There has been a little wind, but not enough to keep me from wanting to get out.

The trees are starting to blossom, which is an indicator to me that spring is here. Spring can be a tricky time to catch fish, as a lot of them are focused on only one thing —spawning.

There are three phases to a spawn: pre-spawn, where they seek the perfect spawning site and prepare it for the laying of eggs; the actual spawn, where the eggs are laid and fertilized; and post-spawn, which is spent recovering from the spawn and at the same time protecting the young fry.

The spawn itself is incredibly tough on both the male and female fish. It’s amazing either of them survive to spawn again.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a spawning fish please put it back. Releasing spawning fish will ensure that we have something to fish for in years to come.

Delta Report

Bass fishing is really starting to show signs of picking up. The outgoing tide is the best. Once the tide bottoms, so has the fishing.

In recent tournaments the overall average has increased and plenty of fish over five pounds are being weighed in.

The water clarity is almost gin clear in a lot of places. Temperatures have risen and our next full moon should create an awesome bite.

Fishing for striped bass remains tough, as very few reports of fish being caught are coming in.

New Melones Lake

Trout fishing continues to be good for planter-sized trout. Anglers are catching them while fishing with power bait off the bank or tossing traditional trout lures.

Kastmasters seems to be the favorite lure for anglers trying to catch trout. Bass fishing has started to pick up, as anglers are starting to catch large swimbait fish.

Lake Don Pedro

The swimbait bite has started to turn on. Several trophy-sized fish have been caught this past week while tossing an 8-inch Huddleston Swimbait.

Jigs fished between 10 and 20 feet deep has been the most consistent of baits right now along with drop shotting and darter heading a small plastic worm.

Trout fishing from the banks is good on the lake from the surface down to 25 feet deep.

Lake Pardee

One of my favorite lakes is opening back up soon. Lake Pardee is scheduled to open for fishing on Feb. 18, and open for camping on Feb. 17.

In years past, the bass fishing has been tough around opening day. This year, they’ve pushed the opening date back, which is definitely a better date for bass fishing.

They’ve also increased the number of trout that are going to be planted leading up to opening day. The fishing should be the best they’ve ever had for an opening day.

Lake Amador

Trout fishing is excellent for anglers fishing off the bank and by boat. Most trout are being caught while fishing the top 10 feet of water. Anglers trolling are trolling shad imitating lures to the backs of the creeks.

Lake Camanche

Trout fishing remains good for anglers fishing the pond and for those fishing the lake. Anglers are doing well while fishing from the surface down to 25 feet deep. Bass fishing is improving.

Anglers are starting to catch a few fish shallow on jigs and small plastics worked slowly along the bottom.

Tip of the Week

This time of year the weather is so unpredictable.

I recommend that you not only dress in layers, but bring an extra set of clothing. Rain gear is also a must, especially if you’re planning on fishing any of the mountain lakes.

Spring may be one of the most beautiful seasons to be outdoors, but it also can be one of the most dangerous if you’re not prepared.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail