December 15, 2014
New Melones Lake Fishing Report
Water Conditions: New Melones Lake is currently holding 529,734 acre-feet of water. The lake level came up almost two feet this last week. It is currently at 864 ft. above sea level and 212 ft. from full. The water clarity is clear in most of the lake with a few areas being a little stained. The water temperature continues to cool with the average being 55-59 degrees. Tuttletown launch is closed. Glory Hole Point boat launch is the road leading off the end of the point. It is a dirt launch without courtesy docks and 4wd is recommended.
Trout: Good. The trout have moved into shallow water and are cruising the shoreline and feeding near the surface. The great winter trout bite is right around the corner. The water temperature has been cooling each week and the fresh water flowing in has made the fish more comfortable and eager to feed. Try finding areas with that have running water nearby. These places will have insects and nutrients that have washed into the lake. Many smaller fish will move up to feed and the larger fish will follow. Bank anglers are starting to fairly well catching a handful of fish on each outing and some limits. One nice thing that has happened is the water is starting to rise every day. This makes the access to the water not as muddy as it has been. There are a lot of trees and bushes in the water. The key is to find small stretches of shoreline in between the trees that have more dirt and rock. The most productive setup has been floating an egg or ball of Power Bait off of the bottom. Try using a light hook and light line to ensure your bait is floating. Another good choice would be a crawler/mallow combo. For those who don’t mind covering water, try fan casting a ¼ oz. Kastmaster or a Tasmanian Devil. Trolling anglers are finding much success in many different areas of the lake. The trout are up and cruising the surface in shallow water and over deep water. Trolling spoons have been producing limits. Try a few different sizes and colors until the fish tell you which lure they are most interested in. Some anglers have also been having success with a single blade followed by a threaded crawler. Be sure to add shad scent to help attract more fish. 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. The fish have entered spawn mode and will soon start dying off. We have heard very few reports of them in shallow water.
Bass: Good. The bass bite continues to be productive and most anglers are catching a bunch of 1 to 2-pound bass on each outing. The shad have schooled up and are in many parts of the lake. Bait balls can be found on bluffs, points, and rock piles in creek channels and on the main lake. The best way to target fish that are keying on shad is with a drop-shot rig or a jigging spoon. Smaller baits have been working best. Try nose hooking a 4” shad patterned worm and fishing it just off of the bottom. Tiny Flukes and Berkley Minnows are also a great choice. It helps to have good electronics to locate the depth the fish are holding. But for those who don’t, try letting your presentation hit the bottom and then pick it up and shake and reel in 5’ increments. For bigger bites try using bigger bulkier baits. ½ to ¾ oz football jigs are a good choice for dragging the bottom. Also with the fish being keyed in on shad a small shad patterned swimbait fished at various depths would be a good choice. Please practice catch and release. Take photos and carefully release the fish back into to the lake to maintain a healthy fish population for generations to come.
Catfish: Fair. We have had some recent rain and hope for more in the forecast. Each year the bigger cats will move up during the rain and feed in areas that have fresh water coming into them. The fresh water will wash nutrients and insects into the lake. This will attract crawdads and small fish. The big cats will move up and feed on these smaller creatures. Try using frozen fish baits fished in shallow water. Shad, anchovy and sardine are all good choices. A good way to fish for catfish is without any added weight. Use enough bait to make a cast and let it sink to the bottom and lifelessly drift. This weight-less approach has been known to fool some of the biggest cats. Be sure to leave slack in the line so the fish does not feel any tension. Also try using nightcrawlers and chicken liver. Glory Hole Sports Big Fish of the Week goes to Bob James of Murphys. He landed a 12-pound, 10-ounce catfish while soaking Power Bait, near the 49-bridge.