May 3, 2016
New Melones Lake Fishing Report
Water Conditions: New Melones Lake is currently holding 619,263 acre-feet of water. The lake level dropped four feet this past week. It is currently at 881 ft. above sea level and 204 ft. from full. The water clarity is clear in most of the lake. There is some debris floating on the surface. The water temperature is gradually rising, with the average being 64-70 degrees. The dam area is still buoyed off. Glory Hole Point boat launch is a two lane concrete ramp with a courtesy dock in place.
Trout: Fair. The trout are still biting and many anglers are catching limits of trout and kokanee. The trout seem to be dropping down to deeper water as the surface temperature warms. The trout are also following the shad which are starting to school over deep/cool water. Look for areas that are slightly cooler and the trout should be nearby. Boating anglers have been focusing on trolling over the deepest areas in the lake. The spillway and the dam areas both have deep water and will hold fish throughout the summer. A few different setups have been working well. Try using a Needlefish or a Speedy Shiner 100’ behind the boat on leadcore line or 20-30’ deep on a downrigger. Many anglers have done well using a flasher/crawler combo. Bank anglers have had little luck fishing from the shore for trout. Try targeting crappie or catfish. The rivers and streams are open and would be a god choice for anglers who prefer to fish from shore. The flows are high and it is best to use spinners that have weight when fishing in these areas. Glory Hole Sports Big Fish of the Week goes to Robert Molready of Castro Valley. He caught a 1-pound, 4-ounce trout along with a kokanee and a couple crappie while trolling Glitterbug’s near the dam. 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: Good. The kokanee bite has started and we are really excited to see the fish are big and healthy. Anglers are catching honest 14-15” kokanee and they are extremely chunky. A few setups and colors have been working well. Try using an Uncle Larry’s Spinner or a Glitterbug’s Micro Hoochie trailed behind a teardrop dodger or slingblade. Pink has been a go-to color, but orange, chartreuse and blue are good choices as well. Be sure to try different colors and combinations throughout the day as the light and water clarity change. It is a good idea to add a slight bend to your slingblade to increase its side-to-side swing. This will agitate the fish and result in more bites. The use of scent is very important when it comes to kokanee fishing. Add dyed and scented corn to each hook. Garlic, anise and bloody tuna are all proven fish catching scents.
Bass: Fair. The bass bite remains productive. Many fish are in a post-spawn phase and trying to recuperate from the spawn. These fish will be fairly lazy and want a meal worth chasing. Try using oversized baits that move slowly. Large soft plastic lizards and ribbon tail worms are a good choice to entice these finicky feeders. In the morning they will often chase bait balls and then rest. Take advantage of these feeding opportunities and be on the water early. Small poppers work great when fish are feeding on shad. Also try using a soft plastic jerkbait. Zoom Flukes will mimic a fleeing shad and can be used to cover water. Adjust the rate of fall by using a belly weighted hook. PLEASE PRACTICE CATCH AND RELEASE. The spawn is here and many fish are holding eggs. Take photos and carefully release the fish back into to the lake to maintain a healthy fish population for generations to come.
Catfish: Good. Each week the water warms and the catfish bite will continue to improve. There are some giant catfish in New Melones and it is common to catch a handful of 8 to 12-pound fish. Many anglers do well fishing with nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Many catfish will feed on shad along with the bass and trout making frozen shad a good choice for bait. The largest cats will each trout and kokanee. We have heard of some giant fish being caught using a whole frozen mackerel on a double hook rig. Catfish have very poor eyesight and will feed by sound, vibration and scent. Use a bead below your weight to create a ticking sound and add scent to your bait offerings.
Crappie: Great. It has been a great spring and anglers are catching a ton of crappie. To locate the crappie, try fishing in main lake coves near timber. It is best to use a small reaction bait to find where the fish are hanging and then switch to a live minnow to load the boat. Beetle Spins, small square bills and small Rapalas are all good search baits. Use a slip-float to adjust the depth of your presentation. The crappie population is on the rebound so it is best to only keep what you can eat and catch and release the rest for fun.