July 11, 2016
New Melones Lake Fishing Report
Water Conditions: New Melones Lake is currently holding 618,197 acre-feet of water. The lake level dropped two 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 with a slight stain in some areas. The water temperature is gradually rising, with the average being 76-81 degrees.
Trout: Fair. The trout bite during the heat of the day has been slow. The trout will hold in deep water and primarily feed during the cool hours of the night. Your best bet to catch quality trout is after the sun goes down. Night anglers are catching some chunky 2 to 3-pound trout fishing under a submersible light. Try anchoring the boat in 50 to 70’ of water and drop the light down 20’. The light will attract small aquatic insects. The baitfish will feed on them and the larger fish will follow. Live minnows fished under a slip-float will work well and many anglers use Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Trolling anglers are catching a few fish while trolling for kokanee. The trout and kokanee are deep and can be found in 60 to 80’ of water. The key to catching fish when they are deep is to use a presentation that they can easily track down. Sound, vibration and scent will coax them into biting. Try using lures that have rattles or a side-to-side wobble that will disperse water. Tie an Oregon Tackle Scent Chamber inline to ensure your presentation will constantly produce scent. Bank anglers should head to the high country and try their luck in local lakes, rivers and streams. 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. This past week was the best kokanee bite we’ve seen all year. Many anglers caught limits of extremely fat kokanee. The average kokanee is well over 15” and we’ve measured a couple over 18” weighing more than 2-pounds. They are starting to school up a little more making it easier to catch a limit. The kokanee will hold in cool water over the deepest portions of the lake. Use your GPS or get a quality map to locate these productive areas. The fish continue to move down in the water column and can be caught in 60-80’ of water. Trolling at slow speeds will give your presentation a slow, yet wide swing. Full size Rocky Mountain Tackle slingblades in pink, purple and blue have been working well. Put a slight bend in your blade to increase the action. Use a short leader with a bladed hoochie or spinner trailed behind your blade. Uncle Larry’s Spinners, Glitterbug’s Tube Bugs and Father Murph’s Mini Spin Bugs have been working well. In deep water there is very little light penetration so it is very important to create a bit of commotion. Bladed lures will produce a pulse that will help the fish locate your bait. Also, scent in important. Use dyed and scented corn to tip each hook and apply scent throughout the day.
Bass: Fair. The bass bite hasn’t been bad considering the lake is dropping and the water temperature is rising. The fish have pulled off the bank and are feeding on balls of shad that are suspended. Look for areas with standing timber and brush that are located near deep water. The bass will use this cover to ambush their prey and stalk smaller fish. The topwater bite has slowed down, and most anglers are reporting just a few blowups in the mornings and evenings. Some reaction type baits have been working, but it is hard to beat a dropshot rig with a shad patterned worm. This presentation can be fished directly under the boat once the fish have been located. It can also be cast toward the bank and fished on the bottom. Be sure to use a weedless rigging method when fishing in or around wood and brush. Roboworms in prism shad and hologram shad or any of the Wright Bait WB101 colors will work. Another soft plastic that always works and can be rigged multiple ways is a Senko. Try fishing it with a light bullet weight and a bead. The bead and the weight will make a ticking sound that will help the fish locate your bait. 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: Good. The catfish bite is picking up and many anglers are catching 6 to 10-pound fish. The cats will feed all day, but the best bite time is mornings, evenings and during the night. Try using frozen shad, anchovy or mackerel to coax them into biting. The catfish in New Melones will feed on shad and small sunfish just like a bass would. It is best to have a two pole stamp and give the fish multiple offerings. Try fishing a large chunk of frozen fish on one rod and fishing a single crawler/mallow combo on the other. Each year some of the largest fish are caught on small offerings. Glory Hole Sports Big Fish of the Week goes to Ted Campbell of Sonora. He caught two nice catfish while soaking liver. His biggest weighed 6-pounds, 8-ounces.
Crappie: Good. This past week we saw a bunch of crappie being caught. The crappie are holding in main lake pockets, coves and creek channels. Try using a live minnow under a slip-float or mini jigs to target them. Also the combination of both will often work best. The color of the jig will catch their attention and the action of a live minnow will draw a strike. Pete Rudy and his friend had a great day on the water using crappie jigs and grubs. They caught and released 80-100 fish and kept a handful for dinner.