August 24, 2015
New Melones Lake Fishing Report
Water Conditions: New Melones Lake is currently holding 304,666 acre-feet of water. The lake level dropped two feet this last week. It is currently at 810 ft. above sea level and 278 ft. from full. The water clarity is stained in many areas and will occasionally clear up. The water temperature is warm, with the average being 76-81 degrees. The dam area has been buoyed off due to current that is created when releasing water. Glory Hole Point boat launch is a two 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. There have been very few anglers targeting trout. The water levels continue to drop, and the trout are congregated in the main lake and in the main river channel. The key to locating trout, is finding what depth the shad are holding. Pay close attention to your electronics and you’ll be able to determine a depth that has activity. Once this depth is determined try fishing your presentations just above the baitfish and trout. Trolling anglers should focus on deep water from 50-80’. The water clarity remains stained. It is very important to keep this in mind when choosing baits. Lures that have contrasting colors, disperse water and create vibration will draw the attention of nearby fish. Firetiger is a great choice for stained and deep water. The chartreuse will stand out and the black offers a solid color that won’t disappear in deep water. Night fishing anglers have been catching a little bit of everything while fishing under a submersible light. On nights that are calm and have little wind, try drifting over deep water. Lower the light to 20’ and fish your live minnows just below that. The light will pull fish up from deep water and your bait will be the first they come across. Bank anglers try heading to the high country lakes.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: Slow. There are very few anglers targeting kokanee and the last month the bite as been slow. Generally during August and September the kokanee will hold in much deeper water. Try trolling in water from 80-100’. There are still portions of the main lake where the water exceeds 200’ in depth. It is important to stay over the main river channel and the original lake when trolling deep to avoid snags. Use your GPS or purchase a topographical map to locate the old lake and to avoid island tops. Dark colors, vibration and scent will be the key to success. We have some pre-rigged bladed hoochies that are designed to attract fish in deep/dark/stained water. Don’t forget to tip each hook with shoepeg corn and use a scent chamber to ensure your presentation is creating a slick.
Bass: Fair. We are currently in the middle of the dog days of summer, which is typically not the best season to target bass. However there are windows of opportunity that can be capitalized on. The early morning, before the sun comes up can be a good time to catch actively feeding fish. Try using a topwater plug that resembles a small fish chasing shad. The bite will usually last for awhile even after the sun comes up. The evening can be a fun time to be on the water. Watch the sun and the shade. If the topwater bite isn’t producing, switch to soft plastic bottom bouncing baits. Try using a Wright Baits 6”ST worm fished on a shakeyhead. This can be rigged weedless, and works well around brush and submerged timber. Many fish will pull off the shoreline and suspend over deep water. These fish can be difficult to locate and target. Try using baits that are the size and shape of the baitfish. Also, try using baits that can be fished at various depths. Spoons, underspins and small swimbaits are good choices and can be counted down to a desired depth, then worked back to the boat. 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. Many anglers continue to catch nice catfish. The catfish are near the shoreline and can be caught on a variety of different baits. Frozen fish bait has been working well. Mackerel, sardine and anchovy will work, but the frozen shad seems to be out fishing all the other frozen bait. One reasons shad works well, is it is a natural food source in New Melones. Another setup that will produce bites is a mallow/crawler combo. This is typically considered a trout rig, but many experienced cat fishing anglers will incorporate it in their arsenal. The bottom of the lake is littered with wood and rock. The mallow will float up off the bottom making it easy for the fish to locate. Try adding additional scent to your presentations.
Crappie: Good. The last time the lake was this low the crappie fishing in the mid to late summer was really good. There is a bunch of standing timber that is lining the lake. The crappie will hold in the timber and ambush schools of small shad as they come by. Try finding an area where the timber is near deep water. Anchor and drop a submersible light to attract nearby crappie. Live minnows and crappie jigs work best. Each week we are hearing of successful crappie fishing trips.