Gone are the days when I used to fish through the summer heat. Call it what you want, “I call it being smart.” Rarely have my fishing trips gone past noon this summer. Yesterday for example, I was on the water before 6:30 a.m. and off the water at noon. I was able to catch fish, enjoy the morning, avoid the traffic, and didn’t come home feeling completely drained of energy. In the past I would stay out from sunrise to sunset which would usually result in me taking at least a day to recover. My mentality back then was to be the first one on the water and the last one off the water. Since then, I’ve realized that the most productive time of the day is either in the morning or in the evening. So, I’ve chosen to pick one of those times and leave the heat of the day for those who haven’t learned that lesson yet.
Water temperatures have been in the high 70s to low 80s. The reaction bite for largemouth bass has been good lately especially when the wind breaks up the surface. There are also a lot of small schools of striped bass found working throughout the sloughs right now. Make sure to have your favorite topwater bait ready in case you encounter an active school of fish. Catfishing remains good during the evening hours and bluegill can still be found in bunches along the shallows.
New Melones Lake:
Kokanee fishing has become hit or miss lately for anglers. To add to the frustration the lake is down to 26 percent of capacity causing anglers trolling to get their gear caught up in submerged trees while targeting kokanee. At night trout are being caught by those fishing around submersible lights with live minnows and power bait. Bluegill are being found right now in the backs of coves and caught by those using worms for bait. Catfish are being caught all over the lake right now but mostly from the shore during the night on anchovies and clams. Bass fishing continues to be good for numbers as many bass can be found in schools off points and main lake structure.
Bass are being caught on jigs during the day and on top water baits early in the morning and as the sun is setting. Like New Melones the kokanee bite has been hit or miss. The lake continues to be at 75 percent capacity making it a little easier on anglers fishing deep. Bluegills continue to provide steady action for those fishing small worms under a bobber around shoreline cover.
Fishing for bass has been fair to good as there are still a lot of fish to be caught up shallow on shaky head worms. There is also a lot of schooling activity to be found on the lake right now as a drop shotted Robo worm through visible schools of fish has been producing numbers. The water clarity is great right now and the water level is higher than all its neighboring lakes. Kokanee fishing is good right now for anglers that are getting on the water as soon as the lake opens. Many anglers are being rewarded with early limits once finding the right depth to troll their favorite kokanee rig. Most anglers are reporting catching kokanee while trolling between 30 and 60 feet deep.
Bluegills have been biting during the day on small worms in the backs of coves and around the dam area. Bass have been pushing the shad into the backs of coves and can be found feeding close to the bank. Bass are being caught at night on spinnerbaits, buzz baits, jigs, and brush hogs. At night some trout are being caught near the dam while fishing under a submersible light.
If you’re a bass fisherman and you don’t have a Whopper Plopper tied on or at least in your tackle box, you’re truly missing out. Other than the bait not being weedless, it’s one of the best top water baits that I have. There are so many things that I like about the bait. Most importantly, is the hookup percentage. Rarely do fish strike the bait and not get hooked. I’ve caught fish on it just about everywhere I fish and my biggest bass while fishing the Whopper Plopper has been 7 pounds. As far as color, I’m not sure it matters. I’ve used several different colors and they all seem to work the same.