Mother Lode Roundup

posted in: Lakes, Reports | 0


(Ione) Lake Amador continues to go over the spillway into Jackson Creek, due to the latest big storms that moved through the Mother Lode.

The access road to the lake has reopened after being closed, due to flooding, for a few days. Fishing pressure has been light and the lake water has been muddy. Trout action is tough, as can be expected.

“If you want to catch rainbow trout, the key is to use something that is scented,” advised Elyse Lockhart at the Lake Amador Resort. PowerBait, nightcrawlers, spinners and spoons, doused with lots of Pro-Cure scents, are recommended for anglers looking to hook trout.

The lake management suspended trout plants for two weeks during the recent storms, but the lake was planted again with 1200 pounds of rainbows on January 19. The annual Tagged Trout Derby continues until March 19.

When boating on the lake, watch out for wood and debris washed in from the big storms.



Al Millan of Kokanee Power took a trip to Lake Camanche on January 15 and nailed several crappie, including this husky slab.
Al Millan of Kokanee Power took a trip to Lake Camanche on January 15 and nailed several crappie, including this husky slab.

(Burson) “Lake Camanche hasn’t seen much sunshine since the heavy storms of last week, but at least the fishing has been great,” according to the Camanche Recreation Company.

Lake Camanche is currently at 79% of capacity and the water level continues to rise.  The California Dept. of Water Resources is estimating that Lake Camanche is receiving 5,123 cubic feet per second of water flowing from Pardee and releasing 4, 960 CFS. To see the most current information regarding water levels please go to:

Mt. Lassen Fish Farm released 3,000 lbs. of trout with 1,000 lbs. planted to the pond and 1,000 lbs. to both shores at the boat ramps prior to the MLK Day weekend. Another 1200 pounds were released the following week.

Robbie Dunham trolled the section of the lake near the dam on Saturday with his wife, Kim, and they ended up with two limits on a day when most trollers struggled.

“The area from Big Hat and Little Hat Island to the dam was the clearest as the Narrows and upriver is very dirty,” said Dunham. “We ran Speedy Shiners in watermelon, red/gold, or gold within the top 5 feet of the surface at speeds from 2.4 to 2.7 mph on our GPS.”

“The first six fish came pretty quickly, but we had to work another couple of hours for the last four fish to round out our limits. There were no big fish on this trip. Who cares? It is always fun watching the rods get bent over regardless of the size of the fish.”

Crappie fishing remains good, as evidenced by a recent trip by Andre Fontenot.

“It was fogged in most of the morning but once it cleared I picked up a fish here and there,” he noted. “I trolled for crappie, putting 8 in the box plus a bonus trout. Most were caught on grubs, but the trout and one crappie hit a Rapala. I fished 12′-18′ down, between the houseboats and Narrows.”

Kevin Enos reported, “I caught a 5 lb. rainbow on a firetiger Rapala yesterday at Camanche. 2.3 mph on the troll about 500 yards east of Hat Island.”

“Black bass fishing is really good at Camanche,” reported Tim Boggs at Elkhorn Outdoors in Rio Linda. “Anglers are reporting catching 3 to 5 largemouths per trip while drifting live large minnows. I sold 350 minnows in a 5-day period.”


New Melones

Michael Nelson pulled this beautiful trout out of New Melones Reservoir during a late fall trolling trip.
Michael Nelson pulled this beautiful trout out of New Melones Reservoir during a late fall trolling trip.

(Angels Camp) New Melones, the third largest reservoir in California behind Shasta and Oroville, continues to rise with the inflows from recent storms that pounded northern and Central California.

The reservoir has risen to 36 percent of capacity, coming up 25 feet in elevation in one week.

The rising water level will greatly enhance the boating and fishing conditions at New Melones this year. The boat ramp at Glory Hole Point now has four lanes available.

“Trout fishing has been really good as the lake has turned over,” said John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports. “Most anglers are catching limits of planted and holdover trout, and the fresh water inflow into all of the lake’s major tributaries have spread the rainbows into different parts of the lake.”

“Trollers have been top-lining on a set-back of 200 feet to clear the boat wake, and floating Rapalas or Shad Raps have been an effective lure in addition to spoons tipped with a piece of nightcrawler,” he tipped.

“Bank anglers are picking up quality rainbows from the shoreline with garlic trout dough bait combined with a nightcrawler. The trout are swimming near the shorelines, and they are close to the surface, so a long cast is unnecessary,” Liechty advised.

The black bass bite is going strong with the rising water levels.

“The lake is coming up extremely fast and changing daily, and some fish will hold deep and wait for conditions to stabilize while others will move up immediately to investigate submerged structure,” he divulged. “Fish that are holding on steep banks are less likely to be affected by the rising water, and plastic worms on a dart-head are a good technique along rocky bluffs and steep dirt banks. Finding the shad balls is important if you are fishing a spoon, and a gold spoon is a good choice in the stained water.”

Liechty said the occasional larger spotted or largemouth bass is being hooked on reaction baits. The best time for big bass is within the coming months.

While bass and trout action is good, the catfish and crappie action remains slow, due to the cold water temperatures.


Don Pedro

(La Grange) Lake Don Pedro is now holding 1,817,464 acre-feet of water, 90 percent of capacity. The water level is 811.89 feet above sea level – only 17 feet from maximum pool!

Bass fishing is excellent as the water rises, with the recent Best Bass Tournament event producing a number of quality limits, including some big smallmouth bass. The top two limits weighed 24.18 and 21.07 pounds. Only one of the 63 boats entered in the event didn’t weigh in fish.

The bass action is still best for anglers working the bottom with Berserk jigs in Purple Hornet, Brown/Purple, or Brown Craw, according to Mike Gomez at the Bait Barn in Waterford. Pro Worms in 124p or 300 on a shakey head are also working,

On the latest trout trip that Monte Smith of Gold Country Sportfishing made to Don Pedro, a man and his daughter went home with 8 rainbows to 2 pounds, along with releasing seven smaller fish. Smith trolled heavy spoons on lead core line at 4 to 5 colors along the shoreline and in dead end coves. The fish are holding where the water is one to two degrees warmer than the main lake.