Fishing Report

March 30, 2015                           

New Melones Lake Fishing Report

Water Conditions:  New Melones Lake is currently holding 558,123 acre-feet of water.  The lake level dropped five feet this last week.  It is currently at 870 ft. above sea level and 209 ft. from full.  The water clarity is fairly clear in most of the lake with a few areas having some stained water. The water temperature has warmed, with the average being 59-66 degrees.  Tuttletown launch is closed. Glory Hole Point boat launch is open with a two lane concrete ramp and a dock.  4wd is no longer needed to launch.

Trout:  Fair.  The surface temperature continues to warm, which will force the trout out to deep, cool water.  The main river channel and some of the creek channels are good areas to locate trout.  Most anglers have been finding fish from 15-30’ of water.  Trolling anglers have had success trolling at faster 2-3mph speeds.  At a slow troll many fish will swim up to a bait, check it out and choose not to strike.  With a faster troll, the fish have less time to inspect the bait and will strike more often.  A great spoon for trolling is a Speedy Shiner.  This spoon performs well at faster trolling speeds.  Many different colors catch fish and they each have a time and a place.  Another good way to catch trout while trolling is with a Rapala Shad Rap.  A Shad Rap has a large bill that when trolled on a top-line will get down 12-15’ of water.  Bank anglers are still catching a few fish, but the bite has slowed down.  Floating a nightcrawler or Power Bait is a good way to target trout from the shore.  With the trout searching for cooler water, avoid shallow flat areas and look for areas with steep banks.  Also, many anglers do well with live minnows fished under a slip-float.  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: Very Soon.  A few local guides have found some kokanee and expect them to start biting in the next few weeks.  This warming trend in the weather should jump start the kokanee bite. In the next couple weeks we should start seeing a few limits.  To target kokanee try trolling in 40-60’ of water.  A small blade trailed by a small hoochie is a good setup that works every year.  Don’t forget to tip your lures with dyed and scent corn.

Bass: Good.  The lake level has been dropping and the fish that wanted to be shallow for the spring are being pushed back to deeper water.  The bite is still good and most anglers are catching a bunch of fish on each outing.  Dragging soft plastics has been the most productive approach for most anglers.  Senkos, lizards, Brush Hogs, Beavers and straight tail worms have all been working.  A good rule of thumb would be, when fishing in stained water use bright colors and when fishing in clear water use natural colors.  Also, in stained water bulky-bait will push water which makes it easier for fish to locate them.  As far as rigging methods are concerned, use a weedless approach when fish around wood and an exposed darthead or wacky-rig will work on dirt and rock areas.  With the water temperature warming there will be a reaction bite and a top water bite that should be happening soon.  Try fishing crankbaits and chatterbaits down the shoreline to locate active fish.  In the morning and evening during low light conditions try fish a top water plug.  Spooks, Poppers, and Ploppers are all good choices.  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: Okay.  The catfish are moving into shallow water where anglers have been catching a few.  Spring is a great time to target large cats.  Melones cats tend to be fish eaters.  Try using mackerel, shad, anchovies and sardines to trigger bites.  Another good way to catch the cats is with a weightless bait approach.  Use enough bait to make a long and let the bait slowly sink to the bottom.  This is a very natural presentation and the fish will hold onto the bait for a long time.  With a lead weight attached they will often spit the bait before you can detect a bite.  Add scent to your presentation to attract fish from a distance.  Glory Hole Sports Big Fish of the Week goes to Brandon Silva of Sonora.  He caught a 7-pound, 8-ounce catfish while soaking chicken livers near the dam.

Crappie: Good.  Early spring is a great time to get into some big crappie.  With the lake being lower than normal there are a bunch of trees that the crappie will hold in.  The best way to catch the crappie is with a live minnow fished under a slip-float.  Another good trick is to put the minnow on a mini jig.

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