Lake Don Pedro
Don Pedro is heating up for both bass and rainbow trout despite steadily dropping in elevation to accommodate the massive amount of snowmelt anticipated in the coming weeks.
The bass bite has been outstanding with Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford finding great action on two trips this past week. He fished the 1790 Club tournament on Saturday for a 12-pound limit, stating, “ The winning weight was 21 pounds plus and you have to weigh in over 17 pounds to be in the money. I found better action early in the week for a 19-pound limit working the River2Sea Swaver, and although my limit was much less on Saturday, the numbers have been excellent. You have to locate the fish as they are in various depths, but I found all of my fish in the top 5 feet of the water column. My brother Victor was throwing weightless Senkos up on the bank and the fish were hitting the bait as soon as it was brought back into the water. I am shocked how good the bite is right now, and the Berserk Purple Hornet jig as well as Pro Worms in 124p or 300 are both working. There is also a good crappie bite with small minnows. The water warmed up from the 60-degree range earlier in the week to 66 degrees by Friday, and the lake dropped at least 10 feet in the past week. The fish have moved off of the main points, and they are holding around secondary depths.”
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “Don Pedro water levels continue to drop in anticipation of the spring melt. The lake elevation as of today was 813.00 feet and 830.00 is full pool, I have read that they will slow releases down when the level hits 801.00 feet. When the lake stabilizes the fishing should be great. The water is warming fast to around the 60-degree mark. Trout fishing continues to be up and down, but there are some quality rainbows being caught. A friend of mine Sam Lage of Concord fished the lake Friday and Saturday, and although he found tough conditions he still managed fish. Saturday was a better day seven trout to 21 inches, weighing three and a half pounds. Speedy shiners on lead core line and Shasta Tackle’s Cripplures behind Mack's Sling Blades on the downriggers at 20 feet deep were the top set up. If I were on the water I would still run my custom made spoons on leadcore along with Rapalas on side planners. When you run lures such as this at a fast speed, you can cover more water and generally find fish faster.
The State Route 120/James E. Roberts Bridge is scheduled to be closed through the morning of Monday, March 27. Following the 24/7 closure, the bridge will be closed a few additional nights for the removal of material and equipment.
The lake has dropped 7 feet this week to 812.62 feet in elevation and 89 percent. Water releases will continue to get the lake as low as possible, but the releases must be managed slowly in order to avoid flooding in the Modesto area. The Bonds Flat Road will remain closed indefinitely as the spillway may be opened once again. Updated information on the lake’s status is available at www:donpedrolake.com.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550;
The Best Bass Tournaments hosted 72 boats on Saturday for their Mother Lode Circuit with a winning weight of over 22 pounds. Tournament director Kevin Cheek reported all of the largest fish were taken on underspins, Senkos, or A-rigs, Texas-rig or drop-shot plastics were also effective for numbers with the fish holding in the top 5 feet of the water column. There is a good crappie bite with small minnows or minjigs. The water is clearing up quickly, and the lake has dropped to 73 percent and 823.90 feet in elevation. Water releases are directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as the lake has exceeded 67 percent of capacity as the lake continues to release water down the Merced River. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
Large volumes of water are being bypassed through the spillway of McSwain Dam from Lake McClure, and the high flows have created conditions where a trout plant for the spring derby is not advisable. The Merced Irrigation District is currently examining several other opportunities -- including a possible trout derby at Lake McClure -- and other tournaments and promotions possibly later this spring and during the summer.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
The lake rose to 71percent and 1024.94 feet in elevation, and all launch ramps in the lake are now open. The rainbow trout are moving into the creek channels and up the river arm, and trollers are scoring near the surface with Speedy Shiners, Kastmasters, and Rapalas. The bass are scattered at various depths from deep water to the shallows depending upon the time of day, and there is a window for reaction baits such as River2Sea SWavers or chatterbaits. Weedless plastics on a Texas, Carolina, or drop-shot rig are most effective for numbers. Bank fishing is fair with trout dough bait combined with a nightcrawler, but a long leader is necessary to stay above the grass and vegetation. Crappie fishing has improved near submerged timber in the coves with live minnows, and catfishing is best with a scented ball of nightcrawlers in the lake’s inlets.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383;