Late Fall Lake Action Heats Up

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Lake Berryessa

Drop Shotters Find Best Bass Action                                                                                       

(Napa)  “A very nice married couple called me last week and wanted to go bass fishing – for the first time!” said Larry Hemphill, fishing guide. “They had never bass fished before and wanted to learn more about it and about Lake Berryessa. They were great people and we had a great time learning!”

“The weather was cloudy and very cool. After lots of instruction about rod and reels, baits, areas to look for bass in different seasons, we started fishing,” he said. “Soon they were casting spinning outfits very well and seemed to be working worms and other plastics very well. As one would expect, they lost their first few bites. Setting the hook for bass is always a learning process for beginners. “

“In the afternoon they did land a few bass, but they were small. Funny – the small ones were in an area that usually produces bigger bass. One never knows! Great people and think I got them hooked,” said Hemphill.

“Drop-shotting Robo Worms in shad colors seemed to work the best for them. MM111 worked a bit also. Most bites came from 15 to 30 feet of water,” he noted.

The water temperature was 60-62 degrees and the water clarity was 4+ foot visibility.


Bullards Bar/Englebright Lakes

7-1/2 Lb. Spotted Bass Tops Catches

(Dobbins) If you like solitude, you’ll find plenty of it at Bullards Bar Reservoir now, since hardly anybody is fishing the lake.

However, one angler, Manuel Nevarez, reported experiencing solid bass fishing on a recent trip to Bullards Bar. His biggest spotted bass topped the scales at 7-1/2 pounds, reported Bob Boucke of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle.

Drop shotters fishing Robo Worms and other plastics in deep water generally find the top action on bass this time of year.

Trout fishing should be picking up for trollers using spoons, spinners and nightcrawlers behind dodgers and flashers, but again, very few anglers are going out trying. “We haven’t heard any reports on fishing success lately,” said a source at Emerald Cove Resort.

Fishing pressure is also light at Englebright Reservor, now holding 64,310 acre-feet of water, 92 percent of capacity and 106 percent of average. Anglers looking for rainbows and browns should troll minnow imitation lures or nightcrawlers behind dodgers up the river inlet.


Clear Lake

Live Minnows Entice Largemouths

by Dan Bacher

(Clearlake)  Boaters drifting live jumbo minnows are experiencing the top largemouth action at Clear Lake now. The weather has cooled down with the latest storms and the live minnow bite has started at Clear Lake.

“You can catch the fish shallow or deep on the minnows,” said Dave Brabec at Clear Lake Outdoors. “The bass are hitting all over the lake from north to south.”

“For lure anglers, the rip bait bite is starting,” said Brabec. “Fishing with igs and drop shot rigs is also productive. However, the water has cooled down to 50 degrees and anglers need to slow down when fishing their lures.”

“The 1 to 1-1/2 lb. bass that anglers were catching and releasing all summer will be in the 2 to 3 lb. range by next spring,” added Brabec.

The top four fish in the recent Sonoma County Belly Boat Tournament weighed 26 pounds, topped by a 9.8 lb. larmeouth. The top eight fish weighed a total of 47 pounds, according to Brabec.

Crappie fishing is starting to pick up. Most anglers are using jigs in the deep water off Anderson Island or Shag Rock, reported Brabe.

He hasn’t heard many reports on catfishing success lately, though.


Collins Lake

Late Fall Anglers Battle Trout, Bass and Cats

(Oregon House) Anglers fishing the cooling waters of Collins lake are catching good numbers of the 9,200 pounds of rainbows planted from mid-October through Thanksgiving 2016, plus some holdovers from the 36,000 pounds of trout planted in spring 2016.

“Quite a few people have been limiting out on trout while trolling Rapalas and Kastmasters from boats and tossing out PowerBait and worms from shore,” said Setuli Palma of Collins Lake Resort.

Johnny and Barbara Grizzle of Manteca brought in a 2-1/2 lb. rainbow that they caught off campsite #16. Rider Chastain used chartreuse PowerBait to nail two rainbows weighing 2-1/4 and 1 pounds. Sam Angle bagged a 2 lb. rainbow while using a Kastmaster and Power Bait in the swimming area.

Margaret and Ray Johnson had a great day when they bagged two trout and five spotted bass.

While trout and bass are the most active species, the biggest fish weighed in over the past few weeks was a channel catfish. Akai Takeuchi of Foresthill landed a 6-1/4 lb. cat while soaking a worm from an east side cove.


Eagle/Almanor Lakes

Fishing Steady, But Cold Makes For Light Pressure

(Chester) Decent trout fishing is available at both Eagle Lake and Lake Almanor, but fishing pressure has been light. The weather has been cold and at times winds have been very strong. Combined, these factors have been keeping a lot of anglers off the water at both Almanor and Eagle.

If you decide to give Eagle Lake a try before the season ends, the best approach is to troll either orange spoons or orange trolling flies. Anglers have been enjoying good results when teaming their spoons and flies with flashers.

The average rainbow being caught right now runs about 2.5 pounds and fish to 5 have been landed.

Shore fishing and fly fishing have been slow. The southern basin remains ice free, but with a cold snap in the forecast the ice situation can change quickly.

At Lake Almanor, anglers speed trolling with silver and black and rainbow pattern minnow plugs have been landing some quality browns to 6 pounds and a few rainbows to 4 pounds.

Shore anglers have been scoring 1 to 3 fish per rod while soaking salmon eggs, PowerBait and inflated worms. Top bank spots include Geritol Cove and Rocky Point.


Frenchman/Davis Lakes

Bait Fishermen Haul In Rainbows

(Chilooot) Rainbow trout fishing is going strong for bank anglers fishing at Frenchman Lake.

“Once again over this past week we have been getting great feedback from fishermen who have tried their luck at the dam and Turkey Point,” said Shirley Wiggin at Wiggin’s Trading Post. “Nightcrawlers and PowerBait still remain the top bait choices.

Ben Meesa from Reno, NV caught his limit of rainbows at Turkey Point while using nightcrawlers and PowerBait. Each fish averaged anywhere from 14-20″ in length.

Joe Roger from Reno was fishing at Turkey Point when he caught 3 good-sized rainbows averaging about 16″ in length while using nightcrawlers. “He also tried PowerBait, but didn’t have much luck,” said Wiggin.

“With the temperatures cooling down, be cautious driving up to the lake. Watch out for icy patches and black ice, especially in the early mornings and late evenings,” said Wiggin.

Trout fishing is a “little on the slow side” as ice begins to form on the edges of Lake Davis, reported Jeanne Graham of the J&J Grizzly Store & Camping Resort in Portola.

“Shore anglers are reporting catching 1 to 2 fish per trip while fishing PowerBait at Mallard,” said Graham. “Hoss brought in a 20 inch rainbow caught on rainbow garlic PowerBait.’

She hasn’t heard any reports from fly fishers or trollers lately. Boats can still be launched, but the dock is out of the water at Honker Cove.



Lake Oroville

Trollers Battle Landlocked Kings

by Dan Bacher

(Oroville) If you want to catch king salmon at Lake Oroville now, try trolling at different depths, since the lake is turning over and the fish are scattered throughout the water column.

“Anglers are hooking salmon while trolling hoochies, tipped with anchovy strips, at the dam and the green bridge,” revealed Bob Boucke of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle. “There is no one depth that the fish are concentrated at now. My advice is to fish shallower in the morning and then deeper later in the day.”

Most of the fish being caught are quality Chinooks in the 18 to 20 inch class. The CDFW is expected to plant more salmon in the lake soon, noted Boucke.

Manuel Saldana, Jr., hasn’t been out salmon fishing on the Feather or Sacramento rivers lately. However, he did go on a short bass fishing trip to Lake Oroville.

“Mark, Ian and I had a blast ripping into some spotted bass,” he noted “We hooked around 20 fish while drop shotting with Robo Worms in pond smelt patterns and 20 to 30 feet deep in the main body and Middle Fork.”

The reservoir is currently holding 1,504,547 acre-feet of water, 43 percent of capacity and 71 percent of average. The lake level is 730.34 feet in elevation and 169.66 feet from maximum pool.


Pyramid Lake

Persistent Anglers Land Trophy Lahontan Cutthroats

by Mike McNeilly

(Sutcliffe) The report for Pyramid Lake has been similar for the last month or so. Don’t expect to catch a whole lot of fish, but if you put in your time you may catch a few big ones.

Fly rod and spinning rod guys throwing white and black wooly buggers and white and black marabou jigs from a ladder are doing by far the best. Trolling is not nearly as productive at this time.

Jeff Morris, the wizard of Pyramid, had this to say about recent fishing, “Same long grinding days, but big fish every trip. All from shore. No boat lately.”  To which I asked, “Any big ones lately, Jeff?”  Jeff replied, “18, 16, 15 and two 12’s last week.”

That is some danged good fishing, but Jeff is an animal who fishes hard from sun up to sun down every day; rain, shine, freezing cold- it doesn’t matter. He also makes every cast count and fishes like the next cast is going to result in hooking a twenty pounder.

Another local legend, Brad Stout, reported some excellent shore fishing at a variety of west shore locations. Brad related that a lot of big fish have been caught lately at just about every beach.

Brad was very excited with the current bite seeing that he recently landed two monster cutthroat trout of 22 and 17 pounds. Brad landed both fish on the fly rod, but he said that other guys in his party were doing just as well with spinning rods and jigs.

Looking ahead, if the Great Basin has a strong temperature inversion where the mountain temps are warm and the valley is bitterly cold, expect the trolling bite to excel and the ladder bite to fade a bit. During December and January, when the shallows become too cold the fish will vacate and head to deeper water. If the weather remains typical, the shallows will be the place to be.


Rollins/Scotts Flat Lakes

Cold Snap Triggers Browns

(Colfax) Cold late fall weather descended on the Sierra foothills this week complete with, rain, snow and overcast skies.

“The fishing at Rollins isn’t great, but if you put in the time you can pick up some decent wild browns,” reported Jason Pleece of Meadow Vista. “I trolled the lake from my kayak twice after Thanksgiving Day and caught browns both times.”

“On the first day it was overcast but not raining. I concentrated on trolling from Freeloader’s Cove to the headwaters of the Bear River Arm, pulling Yo-Zuri HD minnows. I got a total of 3 strikes and landed two browns measuring 14 and 19 inches. I released both trout,” said Pleece.

“The next time I hit the lake it was raining hard and I almost didn’t go, but decided to tough it out. I’m glad I did. That day I ended up landing three browns to 16 inches and a 14 inch wild rainbow with beautiful markings and a square tail. All of those trout were release too. While I’m catching fish, the bite is still pretty slow. I’m only averaging one strike every 2.5 hours of trolling time,” Pleece disclosed.

“At Scotts Flat things have been slow from what I’m hearing. My father and uncle took a trip over there hoping for browns and ended up getting skunked. Typically, when the weather turns cold there are some browns in the mix at Scotts, so I expect that action to pick up any day now,” Pleece concluded.


Lake Shasta

Trout And Bass Bite Despite Cloudy Water

(Redding) Both trout and bass fishing are solid at Lake Shasta despite the fact that the water is stained in some areas. Overall fishing pressure is light.

For trout, trollers will want to work the top 25 feet of the water column, while trolling quickly with shad imitating spoons and plugs. Top offerings include Yo-Zuri Pinns Minnows, Rapalas, Ex-Cel Spoons, Hum Dingers, Speedy Shiners and Kastmasters.

This is the time of the year when trout start pulling in toward the bank. If you pay the lake a visit, be sure to spend some time working tight to main lake points. These areas can hold large numbers of trout in the late fall and early winter.

Casters and bait anglers will want to target the many small seasonal streams that flow into the lake. These areas often attract both trout and bass. For casting stay well back and probe the water column with a dense spoon such as a chrome and blue ¼ ounce Kastmaster or a ½ ounch Hum Dinger. Bait anglers can score in these areas while drifting night crawlers or live minnows beneath a slip bobber.

For numbers of spotted bass that average 12 inches and range up to 3 pounds, both jigging spoons and soft plastics are rigged for drop shot fishing are working. Using these offerings, explore points and drop offs in the main lake and in the lower ends of the arms. Find the bait and you’ll find the fish typically.