March 3, 2014
New Melones Lake Fishing Report
Water Conditions: New Melones Lake is currently holding 1,062,486 acre-feet of water. The lake level rose a bit this week and is currently at 951 ft. above sea level and 135 ft. from full. The water is very clear in some areas and slightly stained in others, with a little bit of debris on the surface. The average water temperature is 53-56 degrees with some areas reaching 57-58 degrees on warm sunny days. The boat launch ramps at Tuttletown and Glory Hole Point are both open.
Trout: Fair. This last week we had some windy days and some much needed rain. Most anglers chose not to fish in the foul weather. With the new fresh water coming into the lake the trout bite should pick up a bit. The weather forecast looks like there will be a few breaks in the weather. These would be good days to hit the water and try your luck. The trout are still near the shoreline and feeding in shallow water. Try to find areas with clear water that are protected from the wind. Bank anglers are catching fish off of Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown boat launch. Power Bait and Gulp Eggs fished off of the bottom will work well. Also, crawler/mallow combo will work well. Be sure to use a light wire hook to insure your bait is floating off of the bottom. A good way to cover water and locate fish is by fan casting a lure. Kastmasters, Krocodiles, and Sonic Baitfish are great for this presentation because they are heavy enough to make long casts. Trolling anglers should try fishing on and near the surface in the early morning and in the evening when the sun is off of the water. During the mid morning and afternoon try dropping your baits down to 15-25’. The Rapala Scatter Rap is a great lure for top-lining and can be fished at all depths with the use of a downrigger. It can be fished fairly fast and be used to search for fish and cover water. Some areas of the lake the water is slightly stained from the recent high winds. The trout are still is these areas but they will bite better on brighter colors. The Glory Hole Sports Big Fish of the Week Contest goes to Bob James of Murphys. He landed a nice 2.05-pound rainbow trout while fishing the south end of the lake with garlic Power Bait. 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: The fish generally start biting again in the spring mid-April into May. We expect an earlier start to the season due to the abnormally warm weather. Try trolling a pink hoochie, spinner, or bug behind a teardrop dodger toward the end of March while trout fishing and you might pick up a few kokanee. Also, nightcrawler and garlic nightcrawler scent works best at the first part of the season.
Bass: Fair. The weather feels like spring but the days are still a bit short for the fish to commit to shallow water. The forecast is calling for more rain and dropping temperatures. This cold weather will most likely put the bass out in deeper water on main lake structure. Try fishing points near the main lake that lead to shallow spawning bays and flats. Try fishing soft plastic worms on dart heads, shakey heads, and drop-shot rigs. There has also been a pretty decent jig bite. Try fishing a ½ to ¾ ounce football jig in 25-45 foot of water. California Reservoir Lures makes jigs that are specially designed for Mother Lode lakes and are proven fish catchers. Be sure to add a matching trailer to your jig to enhance its overall appearance. Please practice catch and release during the spring months. The fish are full of eggs in preparation for the spawn. Take photos and carefully release the fish back into to the lake to maintain a healthy fish population for generations to come.
Catfish: Slow. The catfish will be moving to deep water near rock piles and ledges. Most anglers don’t target catfish at this time of the year. But, the ones that do will hook into some lunkers. Melones cats tend to be fish eaters. Frozen shad, anchovies, sardines, and mackerel work well for bait. The water temperature is warming faster than most years due to lack of rain and extremely warm weather. In past years some giant cats have been caught in shallow water during and a few days after a winter rain. The Glory Hole Sports Big Fish of the Week Contest goes to Bob James of Murphys. He caught a 9.76-pound catfish also on garlic Power Bait.
Crappie: Slow. The crappie bite is right around the corner. We expect a fairly good bite this spring due to the lower water levels and the amount of standing timber. Try fishing with mini jigs and grubs under a slip-float. Also a great way to catch them is with live minnows.