Fishing Report – Kristopher Momyer proudly displayed this 2.6-pound Rainbow trout he bagged on a copcar Needlefish at New Melones Lake Nov. 30.
Lake conditions – Lake Camanche‘s current elevation is 219.48 feet above sea level, a drop of .04 feet since last Sunday. The lake should drop very slowly this week. Water is flowing into Camanche at 270 c.f.s. and flowing out at a rate of 330 c.f.s. Surface water temperature at the dam is 59.28 degrees. The water is clear, with a Secchi reading of 13 feet.
Gate hours for north and south shores are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Trout – Now that Lake Camanche has finished turning over and the weather has settled down, the fishing is just about perfect. Shore fishermen do best at Chevron Point at South Shore, or the pond at South Shore and the day use point at North Shore. Powerbait and night crawlers are the most popular baits, but Kastmasters and Magic Bullets are also both good lures to throw. The best bite is from safe light in the morning until about 9 a.m.
Trollers are scoring frequent limits of trout near the dam, trolling with Rapalas, Needlefish and flashers.
– Dean Wade from Camanche caught two nice limits of trout this week trolling a Fire Tiger Rapala lure, top lining right on the surface. He started fishing outside the marina harbor at North Shore heading for the dam.
– Scott Wiggins from Ione caught limits of trout last weekend and this weekend, with a beauty weighing 5 pounds, a 3 pounder and several at 2 pounds each. He was trolling with a dodger with a night crawler, right at the surface, from Hat Island to Little Hat Island.
This week’s trout plant of 1,200 pounds will be split between South Shore launch ramp and the South Shore pond. These fish average 1 pound, with 5 percent of the load being trophy size (3 pounds or larger).
Bass – The bass bite remains very strong at Lake Camanche, but the weather front going through seems to have pushed the bass a little deeper.
– Danny Tom from Alamo came back to fish again this week with his buddy, Marvin. They spent the day fishing the upper lake and found most of the bass were down around 30 feet deep or more. They were drop shotting and using plastics in the Narrows, Lancha Plana and under the highway bridge and caught and released numerous bass from each area.
The big fish for the day was a 3-pounder caught on a green/brown plastic worm, fishing near the bridge. They also found that the trout upriver were very aggressive, biting on crank baits and plastic worms. They caught a total of four trout even though they were fishing for bass.
Crappie – The crappie are still hit-and-miss this time of year, but several nice 2-pound crappie have been caught by trollers fishing for trout. In each case the fishermen were trolling a Rapala lure and caught a nice crappie instead of a trout. Causeway Cove, Camanche Arm and Camper’s Cove are good places to try to locate the elusive crappie.
On behalf of Camanche Recreation Company, please fish, boat and swim safely.
New Melones Lake
Water conditions – New Melones Lake is currently holding 1.967,300 acre-feet of water and is at 81 percent capacity. The lake is full and beautiful. The lake elevation rose slightly last week and is at 1,049 feet above sea level and only 39 feet from full. Surface water temperatures are approximately 58 to 60 degrees. The lake has turned over; water is fairly clear.
Ramp update – All ramps are open.
Gate closure – Shorter winter hours mean the gates at New Melones will open at 4 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Some day use and campsite areas will be periodically closed throughout the winter for maintenance.
Trout – Excellent, with big 3-to-5 pound fish being caught by trollers and bank anglers alike. Bite is best in the morning. Trout are moving to the surface and most trollers are having luck 10 to 25 feet deep. It is important when trout are near the surface to have plenty of line out while trolling (your lure should be 100 feet behind your boat). Your boat chop will spook the fish from the water’s surface and you want to give them time to roam back up and see your lure. Many trollers had luck in the dam/spillway area or in the mouths of major creek arms and coves. Coves and creeks will be the hot spots for most of the cold winter months. Shad-patterned lures continue to produce the most fish. Try a broken-back or Countdown Rapels, a Cop Car or threadfin shad Needlefish, or an Excel lure. Most trollers are not using dodgers or flashers.
– Several quality Rainbows were caught by anglers rolling shad including The Glory Hole Sports’ Big Fish of the Week Contest (salmonid) winner Scott McGowan of Merced. He trolled frozen shad approximately 12 feet deep at the mouth of Mormon Creek to catch a 5.7-pound Rainbow.
– Other anglers who had luck while trolling included Richard Kowski, Gary Gellerman, Larry Gross, Coogie Sierra, Kenny Layne, Phillip Bruckon, Erik Momyer and Kristopher Momyer.
Anglers who are bank fishing are having the best luck in Angels Cove and Glory Hole Point. Some are throwing spoons and others are using Rainbow or chartreuse Powerbait or nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations.
– Anglers who caught nice bank fish (almost all were in excess of 4 pounds) included Michael Kiernan, Mark Tipton, Don Long, Richard Kowski, Lucky Slayton, Mike Carpenter, Butch Joyner and AI Judnich.
Kokanee – Done for the season, although trollers will occasionally pick one up in the winter.
Bass – Tough. Most bass being caught are in the 1 to 2-pound range. Fish are holding in 22 to 30 feet of water. Target the mouths of creek arms and submerged islands. When the wind comes up, fish the banks and points that the wind blows into; the fish will move shallow to chase the bait that the wind is blowing into the shore. Drop-shot rigs with shad-patterned or crawdad-colored worms are going to produce the most fish, but bigger fish will be caught with brown jigs or swim baits, such as Huddlestons. Jigging a spoon over submerged islands, 30 to 40 feet deep, is another good choice for winter bass fishing.
– Dennis and Dustin Tamp won the Angler’s Choice Semi-Pro Tournament on Melones last weekend, with a five-fish limit weighing 10.04 pounds.
– Father-daughter team of Steve and Alexandria Sepulveda took second place with a 9.04-pound limit that included the big fish of the tournament, a 2.6-pounder.
Catfish – Still seeing some big ‘cats. Tuttletown, Angels Cove, Glory Hole Point, or under the 49 Stevenot Bridge are all good spots to try for big catfish. Use mackerel, anchovies, or sardines, a sliding sinker, leave your ball open and be sure your hooks are sharp. Night fishing is always best for catfish.
Crappie and bluegill – Slow. Try fishing live minnows or trying to entice them with jigs in red/white or purple/white. Best spots on the lake are the south side near Bear Cove, the back of Coyote Creek, Black Bart Cove and in cuts upriver near the Parrotts Ferry Bridge that have a lot of stand-up trees in them. Fish are moving deeper, so target 30 to 40-foot. depths. As always, fish tight to structure.
Danny Layne Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service at www.fishndans.com reports there is a fair bite taking place on Rainbows and King Salmon in the Jenkins Hill, Big Oak Island and Fleming Bay area on Lake Don Pedro. Working the top 30 feet for ‘bows with ExCel, Needlefish lures, or Uncle Larry’s Spinners will produce fish to 3 pounds. Mexican Gulch and the dam are giving up King Salmon at depths of 30 to 40 feet on rolled shad or Speedy Shiners. Remember to troll Speedy Shiners a little faster than you would other lures.