Last week I had the opportunity to get together with a few childhood friends for a day of sturgeon fishing. One of my friends, who is an avid fisherman, told me that when he went to purchase his sturgeon tag, he had to first purchase a fishing license. Thinking it was a mistake, he pulled his license out of his wallet and it read 2016. He couldn’t believe that he was fishing all year long without a license. So, he ended up not only having to buy a sturgeon tag but a license as well. His new license was scheduled to expire at the end of the year, adding even more disappointment. I couldn’t help to not bring up the need for our state to go to a true 12-month fishing license. It makes more sense now than ever to have a license that is valid for 12 months from the day you purchase it. I believe more people would purchase the license and for people like my friend, he probably would have never forgotten to renew his license in the first place.
Striped bass fishing continues to be good. Anglers using live bait are using live bluegill caught around the many delta docks. I prefer using a number 2 bait hook when drifting bluegill and hook them through the bottom lip and out through the nose area. Make sure that once bit to let the striper run a bit as they have to swallow bluegill head first. Largemouth bass fishing has slowed lately with very few big fish being caught right now. Anglers using jigs right now are having the most consistent bites while flipping and pitching.
New Melones Lake:
Trout fishing is fair right now. Anglers fishing off the bank are catching a lot of planter sized trout with a few hold over fish mixed in. Anglers trolling are doing well while trolling from the surface down to 15 feet deep. Recently a lake record was broken with the catch of a nine-pound rainbow trout caught in Carson Cove on rolled shad at 37 feet deep. Bass fishing has slowed some for a lot of anglers as the water temperatures continue to drop. Schools of bass can be found right now as deep as 40 feet. During select times of the day bass can be caught off main lake points while using rip baits.
Lake Don Pedro:
Trout fishing is picking up, trout are not biting as well as at New Melones but they are still there to be found. Bass anglers are finding bass holding deep. Many are dragging drop shotted worms and other small plastics through groups of fish that they’re finding with their depth finders. For larger bass, anglers are tossing trout imitating swimbaits for mixed results.
Trout fishing has taken over lately on the lake. Weekly plants continue to keep the lake stocked with nice sized cut bows. The bait of choice right now seems to be power bait; make sure when fishing with Power Bait that enough is put on enabling the bait to float off the bottom.
Lake Camanche has started its weekly trout plants. Anglers are reportedly doing well right now while trolling and using power bait off the bank. Anglers trolling are trolling the top 20 feet with shad imitators and anglers fishing off the bank are fishing the North Shore area. Bass fishing has slowed down but anglers are still able to catch them while working jigs down to 40 feet.
Tip of the Week:
Water temperature should be taken into consideration when selecting baits. As the water temperature drops fish become less and less active. Unlike us, the colder the temperature the less fish must eat in order to stay alive. Artificial baits must be worked slowly as the cooler the water the slower the baitfish actually moves. Next time you hook a fish in the middle of winter, take note of how much less that fish fights compared to a fish the same size caught during the warmer months of the year.