November 23, 2015
New Melones Lake Fishing Report
Water Conditions: New Melones Lake is currently holding 265,455 acre-feet of water. The lake level remained stable this past week. It is currently at 798 ft. above sea level and 288 ft. from full. The water clarity is fairly clear in most of the lake and stained in some of the creek arms. The water temperature continues to cool, with the average being 57-61 degrees. The dam area has been buoyed off due to current that is created when releasing water. Glory Hole Point boat launch is a one lane dirt and gravel road leading off of the end of the point. There is not a courtesy dock and it is best to launch with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Trout: Slow. We have been anticipating the cooler temperatures and the lake turning. This usually happens around Thanksgiving each year. With the cold front in the forecast, the lake temperatures should continue to drop each and we will start to see signs of the fall turnover. The turnover is when the surface temperature drops below the temperature of the remaining lake. The surface layer of water will sink and push the deepest layer of water toward the surface. At this time the trout will also come to the surface and spend the majority of the winter in shallow water. It is time for the bank anglers to head to the lake and try soaking some bait along the shoreline. Try floating a ball of Power Bait off the bottom to coax the cruising trout into biting. It is also a good time to use a casting spoon to cover water. Some of the more aggressive fish will be right on top and chasing bait. For those who wish to target trout from a boat now is a good time to long-line or troll with lead-core line. Try using spoons that have a lot of side-to-side action and will resemble a fleeing bait fish. Also small minnow-like hard baits are a good choice. A small Rapala trolled near the surface will draw the attention of nearby trout. Be sure to let plenty of line out, 150-200’ will ensure your bait clears your boat disturbance. Keep your eyes peeled for fish breaking the surface one fish will sometimes expose an entire school. We do encourage catch and release for the brown trout as The Department of Fish and Game will no longer be planting them. Carefully measure, weigh and photograph trophy fish and send us pictures and information.
Kokanee: Done. We have had a couple reports of kokanee in the river and there are a bunch of eagles near the bridges. This usually indicates the kokanee are in the area and dying off.
Bass: Good. The bass bite has been really good this fall. For the last few months many anglers have been catching a bunch of chunky fish. The fish are all very healthy and have been gorging themselves on shad. This time of year is a major transition from summer temperatures to winter temperatures. The water at the end of September was approximately 78-degrees. The water temperature now is approximately 58-degrees. That is 20-degree drop in less than two months of time. The key to finding bass is to keep an open mind and to not get stuck on one lure or location. The fish will move shallow and move deep depending on what the shad are doing on that given day. It is best to have multiple rods rigged and ready to fish a various depths. The fish are keying heavily on small shad. Try using shad-like baits that are close in size, shape and color. A drop-shot rig is a good choice and can be very effective at practically any depth. It is also a good idea to have a handful of search baits on the deck. Use these baits to find the fish and then switch to a slower presentation to catch the rest in the school. Good search baits include, small swimbaits, lipless crankbaits and soft plastic jerkbaits. Some days the fish will be holding tight to the bottom and a football jig will get many bites. Try using a lighter jig shallow and switching to a heavier jig when looking for deep fish. When fishing in deep/cold water it is a good idea to add scent to your presentation. PLEASE PRACTICE CATCH AND RELEASE. The bigger fish are the future of our lake. Take photos and carefully release the fish back into to the lake to maintain a healthy fish population for generations to come.
Catfish: Good. This last week we had many reports of anglers catching some hefty catfish. The catfish will be filling their bellies on shad, crawdads and other critters in preparation for the cold winter months. These large fish will scour the bottom of the lake in both deep and shallow water. Catfish have very poor eyesight and feed primarily by scent and vibration. It is not a bad idea to use an ample amount of scent on your presentations. If you are fishing with frozen fish, try adding additional shad or anchovy scent. If you choose to use crawlers try adding nightcrawler or garlic nightcrawler. Focus on areas that have both shallow and deep water nearby. The catfish will hold in the deeper water and then move shallow to feed. Glory Hole Sports Big Fish of the Week goes to Mark Schneider of Angels Camp. He caught a hefty 6-pound, 15-ounce catfish while fishing with nightcrawlers in the Angels Creek Arm.
Crappie: Slow. We have had a few reports of some crappie being caught. Try using a live minnow fished under a slip-float. Some anglers will swim Beetle Spins and Mini Jigs near brush and standing timber to search for crappie.