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New Melones Reservoir - New Melones Lake is currently holding 1,204,000 acre-feet of water. New Melones has reached its 50 percent capacity. Lake elevation again rose one foot this week, now at 969 feet above sea level, and 119 feet from full capacity. Surface water temperature was reported at 49.5 degrees.

Melones is scheduled for a trout plant during the week of Jan. 16-22, weather permitting. Extreme weather conditions have made fishing uncomfortable for both boaters and shore fishermen alike. Those who have braved the storms have given good reports to limits of mostly smaller trout, with an occasional 2-3 pounder. Reports continue of larger rainbows showing up in the major creek arms such as Mormon Creek, Coyote Creek and Rose Creek upriver (these are accessible by boat only). John Staderoli caught a couple of beautiful brown trout just above the Highway 49 bridge using frozen shad. John reports that he also caught a few rainbows and even a bass in the same area. Though we didn't get the exact weights on the browns, the pictures show them to be beautiful in color and they both look to weigh in the 4-6 pound range. This is definitely a great time of year, weather permitting, to head up river and go for big browns. Usually frozen shad or shad patterned Rapalas work best to attract them. Use the Spro Sliding Hook Rig for frozen shad, or the Gil Hooley easy baiter to put a curve in it for a wounded shad effect. Bank anglers continue doing well in Angels Cove, Glory Hole Point, and under the 49 Bridge, though mostly smaller rainbows are reported. This is a great time to take the kids out and see them have a great time catching. Power Bait or Pautski's Salmon Eggs are the best choice for bank anglers. Use a marshmallow to float your bait. You may also want to throw a small silver/blue Kastmaster, a small Rattletrap, or a shad-colored spinner such as a Mepp's or Panther Martin. Trollers are still reporting easy limits in the top 10-20 feet of water in the main lake, and at the mouths of major creeks. Remember - when fish are on the surface, it's important to have plenty of line out behind your boat (as much as 100-150 feet). 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. Try using spinner/crawler combos and rainbow trout or shad patterned Apex lures, trolled either alone or behind a dodger.

While this is not the time of year for Kokanee to be showing up, we do get an occasional report of trollers catching small Koks while trolling for rainbows. This week a couple of bank fishermen reported catching 1 or 2 small Kokanee off Glory Hole Point.

For bass fishing, try fishing near main lake points or by steep drop-offs. Bass are holding to structure suspended near rocky points. Using a blue/silver spoon over submerged structure and island tops will catch bass as the water temperature falls. The fluttering fall of the spoon imitates the shad that die in the cold water. Drop-shotting shad patterns are working for some anglers. Upcoming tournaments will be providing us with more information.

No new catfish reports have come to us this week. This time of year the catfish bite slows, as they tend to hunker down for winter, feeding less and becoming less active overall.

This is the slowest time of year 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.

There is solid trout fishing and not a lot of competition for fish. Trollers are finding trout in the dam area and the backs of coves. Some are launching at Moccasin Creek and fishing the river arm. Try trolling from the surface to 20 feet with Uncle Larry's Spinners behind a Sep's Sidekick.

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

Tulloch Reservoir - The lake is being refilled after reaching its lowest point. The trout bite has picked up, even though the lake is moving. Wedding rings are working for trout from the surface to 20 feet. There hasn't been much of a bass report, but there are launch capabilities. The gap between the launches is covered, but if you want to shore fish, take some boots because it's very muddy with the drain. Bank anglers and trollers are both having luck with medium and small minnows. Nightcrawlers and Power Bait also work.

881-0107, 847-3447.

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

Diana Mello of A-1 Bait said there is a good bass bite off the bank 20 feet deep near the rockpiles with 6-inch brown plastic worms. Power Bait is working for trout, and green has been the best color. Minnows are working well for crappie about 15- to 30-feet deep near the houseboats. The bass bite is excellent near the trees and island tops. Go as deep as 60 feet.

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 Lake McSwain Marina said bank fishing is fair. Brian Clark of Merced was fishing right outside of the store and getting his limit every day this past week. Boaters have been doing fairly well with flashers and crawlers or various-colored Rapalas - the No. 7 floater in fire tiger or rainbow. Stick to the slot area. The brushpile and in front of the marina have been good spots for shore anglers.