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New Melones Reservoir - New Melones Lake is currently holding 1,325,000 acre-feet of water, and is at 55 percent capacity. The lake elevation rose two feet again this week, and is now at 984 feet above sea level and 104 feet from full capacity. It has risen 16 feet since Christmas, and 27 feet since Halloween. Surface water temperature is approximately 52 degrees.

We are now using the middle Tuttletown Ramp, as opposed to the lower muddy ramp. We are using the second highest ramp at Glory Hole. Angels Cove Ramp will remain closed for the winter, as it does every year, until March 30.

Due to recent trout plants, fishing should be good, especially near Glory Hole Point, Angels Cove, and under the 49 Stevenot Bridge. Tie on a crawler with some Power Bait or marshmallows, and take the kids fishing! Trout are running from 1-3 pounds, with smaller "planter" fish being the most plentiful. Both bank anglers and those who are still fishing from a boat may want to throw a shad-imitation spoon such as a Kastmaster or Krocodile, or a Panther Martin or Mepps. This is especially effective in the evening when you can see trout swirling on the surface. Trollers are reporting limits of smaller rainbows caught right on the surface with a crawler/spinner combo or a small shad imitation. The main lake near the spillway/dam, or near the islands off of Glory Hole Point are good places to troll. Remember - when fish are on the surface, it's important to have as much as 100-150 feet of line out behind your boat. Using side planers is a great way to get your lure away from the boat chop and commotion that your boat causes, which scares the fish away from the area behind your boat. Seven-year-old Camille Botelle from Jackson caught her limit of rainbows while trolling above the 49 Bridge using a red and silver Wedding Ring anywhere from 15 ft. to the surface. Brown trout continue to thrill anglers who troll in the main lake as well as upriver. Trolling frozen shad or shad or trout-patterned Rapalas or Rebels work best for big browns. George McGill caught a 20" brown near Tuttletown on a floating silver/black Rapala. We have had some beautiful browns caught on a tiny purple Sockeye Slammers this time of year, too. When trolling shad, you want a slow, easy roll to simulate a wounded shad. Gil Hooleys allow you to put a bend in a shad to get the rolling effect. Pro-troll Roto-Trolls give the rolling effect with an extra bonus - they come implanted with a small electronic chip that emits a positive charge into the water to attract the fish. When fishing for browns, don't use dodgers or flashers. Browns tend to stay close to structure that has deeper water accessible nearby, so anywhere there is a steep drop-off with trees is a good place to troll for browns.

While this is not the time of year for Kokanee to be showing up, we do get an occasional report of trollers catching small Kokes while trolling for rainbows. Good Kokanee action will start back around May.

We heard good reports about the bass fishing after the Anglers Choice semi-pro tournament. Anglers found that in the morning fish were deeper, around 50 feet, an drop-shotting with a small green weenie worm, or using brown or purple jigs, worked the best. In the afternoon sun bass moved to shallow water (10 feet) and fishing with a larger worm or shad-patterned lure off of main lake points caught some nice fish. George McGill of Stockton caught a fat 6 lb. largemouth by the spillway with a floating silver/black #11 Rapala in 10 feet of water. Fish are also being caught in the creek channels, where warmer water is flowing into the lake, washing in insects from the recent rains. Brown/brown or brown/purple jigs/trailers, or a green pumpkin or cinnamon Yamamoto Hula Grub or Creature Bait on a jig head are also working well. Many bass are suspended near structure on island tops. A good spot to fish right now would be the islands off of Glory Hole Point - they are full of structure, and schools of shad are stacked up in that area.

This week we had reports that the catfishing is picking up. Howard Cloud wins the Big Fish of the Week contest at Glory Hole Sports with his 7-pound catfish that he caught under the 49 Bridge with chicken liver in about 30 feet of water at midnight on Saturday night. He said that using a sliding sinker, leaving your bail open, and sharpening your hooks is the key to catching catfish.

For crappie and bluegill, areas with heavy structure at 30-40 feet deep would be a good choice. Try fishing live minnows or trying to entice them with jigs in red/white or purple/white.

Glory Hole Sports, 736-4333

Lake Don Pedro - Best spots to try are around partially submerged trees, near the marina and rocky points.

Danny Wood of Clovis had an 11-pound bass and a 9-pound bass using a jig. As it gets deep into February and March, anglers are expecting Don Pedro to turn into a home-run bass fishing lake. Most Florida-strain bass are going to begin spawning. Trout are down about 10 feet with night crawlers. Trolling is solid at School House Point. There have been no reports of catfish or crappie.

852-2369, 989-2206, 848-2746.

Tulloch Reservoir - Fish the main part of the lake for the best action.

Anglers are catching trout on the topwater from the shore using Power Bait or marshmallows. Trollers are using needlefish and flashers. Bass are down deep 60 feet to the bottom off the point. There were 14- and 16-inch bass caught recently.

881-0107, 847-3447.

McClure Reservoir - Fish in Barrett Cove, Horseshoe Bend, Cotton Creek and Temperance Creek for the best luck.

Diana Mello of A1-Bait said the trout bite is fair with Kastmasters or flasher/crawler combos. Some crappie are showing up around the houseboats with small yellow and white or red and white jigs. On Sunday, Don Bays of Los Banos caught a 12.78-pound black bass with crank bait. Most bass anglers have been catching fish shallow in the 5- to 15-foot range. The crappie bite is expected to pick up soon.

563-6505, 378-2441

McSwain Reservoir - Try your luck at the brushpile, in front of the campgrounds and marina, and at Gilligan's Island and the handicap dock.

John Kemper of McSwain Marina said it has been slow, but now that the weather has stabilized, trout fishing is starting to pick up a bit. Bank anglers are doing OK at the handicap dock and the brushpile. Trollers are using firetiger or rainbow Rapalas. A couple of bank anglers got limits with Power Bait. Those were the first limits in a while, but there was a scheduled plant last weekend, and that should boost things.