February 8, 2016
New Melones Lake Fishing Report
Water Conditions: New Melones Lake is currently holding 410,893 acre-feet of water. The lake level came up four feet this past week. It is currently at 837 ft. above sea level and 249 ft. from full. The water clarity is stained due to recent rainfall and wind. Some areas are clear and not affected by the storms. There is some debris floating on the surface. The water temperature remains cool, with the average being 49-52 degrees. The dam area is 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: Fair. The DFG continues to plant rainbow trout in New Melones. The trout fishing has been tough this winter, but anglers are targeting them and catching a few fish on each outing. There have been few reports of limits being caught. We have noticed some fish are starting to move shallow and fish can be seen breaking the surface throughout the day. Bank anglers are finding fish near the 49-Bridge and off the end of Glory Hole Point. Most anglers are floating a nightcrawler off the bottom to entice fish. Use a worm threader to thread the crawler onto the hook. Then use a mallow or Power Egg to float it. The water will be a little stained in areas and bright colors will attract fish. Be sure to use a light wire hook to ensure your bait remains floating. Also, try using a shad patterned lure near the surface to catch the fish that have moved up and are feeding on shad. A live minnow fished under a slip-float will work as well. Boating anglers have been catching their fish while trolling spoons and small minnow-like lures near the surface. There have been reports of fish being caught on the main lake, but most of the limits are coming from the main river channel. Use your electronics or a quality contour map to stay over deep water. The existing river channel will be void of any standing timber making the use of downriggers a possibility. Try top-lining a couple baits and fishing some lures down to 30’. Take it to the Limit Guide Gary Burns went out to find some trout with client Tyson Enzweiler. They ended up with a limit of nice trout. They trolled a Cop Car Needlefish in 10’ of water to catch their 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: Slow. It is a little early in the season to catch kokanee. Generally we will start seeing a few fish caught in April.
Bass: Good. Bass fishing on New Melones remains steady. Most anglers are catching plenty of chunky spotted bass and a few largemouth as well. The lake continues to rise daily and the fish will be constantly on the move. As the water rises some fish will stay deep and hold on offshore structure. Some fish will be moving to shallow water, especially on warmer sunny days. Try using soft plastic presentations in both deep and shallow water. A Texas Rig worm can be a good choice when fishing near wood. Try using a heavier weight in deep water and switching to a weightless rig when fishing shallow. Many different plastics work. Senkos, Roboworms and Trick Worm are all good choices. Try using a variety of colors and switching throughout the day depending on water clarity and light. Greens and browns are natural colors that the fish will be drawn to. The fish are cold and have a slowed metabolism. Fishing at a slower speed will often catch more fish and get bit more often. If the fishing seems to be tough, a dropshot rig is a good choice and will appeal to some of the more finicky fish. With the dropshot try using a light weight. The fish will often bite on the initial fall. A 4” Roboworm is a good choice and can be nose hooked or wacky rigged. PLEASE PRACTICE CATCH AND RELEASE. The spawn is near and many fish will be 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: Slow. Some anglers have found a few catfish. Generally the fish will slow way down in the winter due to cold water temperatures. However, they are opportunistic feeders and will bite when a meal is near. Try using frozen fish or a large ball of nightcrawlers. Look for areas that have slightly warmer water. The catfish will be more active and more likely to feed in warm water.
Crappie: Okay. The crappie bite will pick up once the water warms during the spring. Jim, Sharon and Allen Munroe caught some nice crappie will trolling a Rapala near the dam. Their biggest weighed 2.90-pounds. New Melones has always produced some giant crappie.