I’ve always tried to keep things simple when it came to my fishing tackle. I have a couple favorite colors and a couple favorite baits that I’m convinced if they aren’t working, the fish aren’t biting. Over these past few years though, I’ve really begun to question my decision to stick to a handful of colors and techniques. They’ve done well for me over the years but there are still those days when I struggle to get a bite. Through many years of having a fish tank in my house and observing my fish, I’ve learned that the slightest change does make a difference. On multiple occasions I’ve witnessed my fish reacting to slight temperature changes, feeding times, and light. Witnessing these changes has made me believe that subtle changes in lure colors or techniques does make a difference. If you’ve fished long enough, you’ve surely been fishing with someone who was using the same bait or lure who was catching more fish than you. No longer do I let myself believe it’s just luck, I look for what they’re doing differently. Sometimes it’s just they aren’t as obvious as we think they were. Something as simple as a change in retrieve speed, line diameter, or scent can make all the difference.
Fishing is really starting to pick up; bass are being caught on swimbaits as well as flipping jigs and creature baits. Striped bass are hitting almost anything right now and can be found throughout the system. Tie on a large chrome and blue rattle trap and find any area where there is a little current and cast away. I’ve been using a stop and go retrieve which really seems to draw more strikes. Anglers are also doing well around Mildred Island while drifting live bluegill.
New Melones Lake:
Currently the lake is in transition as the cooler water has yet to make its way to the surface. Bass fishing is good right now as the bass are feeding heavily in preparation for winter. Anglers are doing well while fishing with jigs and grubs along the bottom once finding schools of bait. There are also a few reports of anglers having luck while fishing with swim baits.
New Hogan Lake:
Bass fishing continues to be good for anglers fishing a variety of baits. A favorite right now is pretty much any crawdad imitator that can be worked along the bottom or even a weighted Senko. For striped bass anglers are having luck while trolling through schools of striped bass with umbrella rigs.
Trout plants continue, anglers are reporting catching trout while fishing near the dam. Bass fishing continues to be good on the lake right now as anglers are scoring good limits while fishing reaction baits and plastics in 10 to 15 feet of water.
From now until early spring is probably the best time of year to fish for trout on the lake. The lake is being heavily planted weekly with trout making them easy targets for the patient angler. Power Bait, or trout lures such as Kastmasters and Spinners continue to be the most popular baits.
Fishing has slowed down on the lake but there are still schools of shad being chased to the surface by trout and bass. Finding those actively feeding schools in the middle of their ambush is the key to catching them right now. Some anglers are driving around looking for birds following the schools of baitfish. Others are trolling or holding in place on a spot where they believe the schools will pass.
Tip of the Week:
With the cooler nights and mornings, it’s very important to be careful when around boat ramps. A lot of ramps and docks ice up making them very dangerous to walk on. There’s nothing fun about falling while walking down an icy boat ramp. So, as much as you may be excited to catch that first fish of the day make sure to take it slow and if there’s a railing available, use it.