View Full Version : Tired of Stockers, How do I target bigger Trout?

08-11-2014, 10:42 PM
Went to McSwain Sunday. Did good fished from Noon to 6:30pm for two Limits between me and my Brother-in-Law. We threw back or Lost another limit. We are pretty good putting 12-14 inch stockers in the boat, but we want to start targeting the big Dogs. How or what do i need to do to target them? We trolled Vance's Willow leaf flashers and wedding rings of Various sizes and colors. Mcswain is a unique fishery in that the water stays lower than most lakes in the sweltering california summers because the water comes of the bottom of the Dam, but it not a very deep reservoir. I am located in Atwater/Merced area so Don pedro, McClure, McSwain, Tulloch lakes are local. what should i do?

08-12-2014, 03:55 AM
I'm not very knowledgeable on those lakes to be exact...but all I know is that stick baits catches big trout.

08-12-2014, 04:20 AM
If you have a fish finder locate the fish and put your presentation just above them. I agree with stick baits and some sort of flash bait like a spoon of some sort. Pay attention to the cloud cover because you will need more flash for that........Jetspray

08-12-2014, 05:14 AM
Wait until winter and try Melones, some BIG trout there. Not sure if it will have any water left in the lake!

08-12-2014, 05:36 AM
Summer trout are almost always just average in size. The larger fish tend to be somewhat lethargic in warm water lakes.

In mid October the larger fish will become active feeders and this will last until mid January in some lakes.

When the fall trout season begins the fish will shift to high protein diets and put on a few extra pounds to hold them over for the winter.

You can still catch a larger fish in the late summers if you can find the 45 to 59 degree water and troll slow with minnow imitations or leaches. Night crawlers and grubs make for good leach imitations as well as Jay Fair and Arctic Fox trolling flies. Flashers may help and the classic Ford Fenders have been known to be deadly. Wedding Rings can work well also.

Reel Fun
08-12-2014, 06:30 AM
Stay away from the launch ramp on plant day! LOL!! You need to get down deep this time of year. Downriggers are a must with 10-12lb balls. You will need to use spoons and other lures that are generally trolled faster than others......Exels....speedy shiners.....rapalas and speed should be 2.5+ this is why at that speed and fishing deep you need heavy weights! Trout will be shallower early in the morning on a calm lake but drop down quickly with the sun & lice. Stack each downrigger if you have only 2 with different lures making sure rapala type lures are on the bottom release (diving) and then cover some water!!

08-12-2014, 06:54 AM
Larger fish usually means less action. If you fish with someone with no patience don't try fishing for the big ones. Patience and time on the water produces large fish, also water known for large fish helps too.

08-12-2014, 07:05 AM
big trout love fish and they are very patient. Chasing prey takes too much energy so they are opportunistic. Find where the water comes in, and drift minnow/minnow type lures with the current.

08-12-2014, 07:49 AM
Some really good advice below. They are on the bottom. in the nastiest crags...or around big drop offs. if big trout on a regular basis is what you seek...you must be OK with losing alot of gear. You arent fishing in the "big trout zone" this time of year unless you are bouncing (or snagging) frequently.

Use fish finder/Nav maps to locate underwater humps, holes, drop offs (Shallow-ish water quickly dropping into deep-ish water).

Tulloch has large trout in it. Most roll brined baitfish....you can google "rolling shad" and "Tulloch" and get an intro into how to do it.

Catching big trout anywhere is tough. doing it in CA is even tougher-it requires commitment, attention to detail and the ability to be happy with "0" fish days. Good luck

08-12-2014, 07:53 AM
A place to start at Tulloch: troll deep at the river channel at the South Shore to the mouth of Black Creek or in the Green Springs Arm near the Power Lines.

08-12-2014, 03:11 PM
Thanks for all of the Input. McSwain has dome big fish in it. The deepest that i have seen on my fish Finder is 60+ feet. The Surface Water Temp Sunday was 74.1 and at 6:00 pm had dropped to about 73.5 Degrees. Do you still fish low with that kind of water temp? I tried Apexs' in Fire Tiger and Blue and Purple Chrome Needle Fish and Krocodiles with no hits about 20 Feet Deep at 1.8 -2.0 miles per hour behind flashers. Would Dodgers be a better Choice?

08-12-2014, 03:21 PM
For me at least, big lures = big fish. Maybe try bigger versions of your lures.

08-12-2014, 03:31 PM
When you fish for trout it's important to remember that they are cold blooded. The larger the fish the less tolerant they are to temps above 59 degrees.

If the water where they are comfortable is also low in oxygen they will often come to the surface in the early morning and late evening. They are there to get oxygen and expend little energy doing that.

If you manage to get your presentation in their face they'll likely take it. It's more likely that you'll pick up smaller fish that will also be there.

Some lakes are more likely than others to fish this way in late summer so I can't say all lakes will be like this but it's fairly common.

08-12-2014, 03:40 PM
Colder weather as mentioned are good times for the big trout. My best trout come out of Dec and Jan. What is even better is they are shallow and light gear can be a blast. You got all the advice you need already just need to find what works for you.
The only thing I will add is I agree with the "big baits" theory mentioned but not always. Be willing to change it up. I have had great fish on tiny baits when the time is right.

If you want confirmation on the cold weather fishing. Just look at the pictures at the lakes marinas and tackle stores. There is usually snow in the background or people are bundled up to stay warm.

Good luck.

08-12-2014, 07:20 PM
Come on up to Tahoe where the water is always cold. We even see the difference in water temp affect the quality of catch. This is mainly noticeable with the large rainbows and browns. Understanding the feed in the lake for the larger fish and where that feed is will bring the big fish. LIke was said earlier it is a patience game that is rewarded with the quality

08-12-2014, 07:46 PM
Fish the American river at nimbus wall during the middle of winter. :P Kidding of course.

Like was mentioned, wait for the fall or venture out to a different body of water. Smaller lucky craft pointers or rapala plugs work during the fall for browns and bigger bows. Melones is a good place to get beautiful holdovers. If you want to get in on some good winter fishing, jigging or jump fishing Lake Berryessa during the fall is a cool thing as well. It's very much like fishing the delta for stripers. You look for birds and baitballs in the coves and then rush over, drop jigs or throw spoons to the boils.

Summer is tricky.

08-12-2014, 08:24 PM
I agree with most of the info posted. Big fish eat all the time to survive! ALL YEAR LONG! It's a matter of presenting it to them though. Google info on the type of fish you want to pursue! Spend countless hours and countless amounts of $. Haha. This time of year trout will be hanging in the thermocline, thus the need to be able to fish deep. (Leadcore, downrigger) They feed in the shallows when the lakes temps are broken up.(fall, spring) They follow the food source. It's all about presentation, and putting it in the strike zone. All the info is at your finger tips. There is vast amounts of good, honest, reliable info for free on the internet. Good luck!

08-12-2014, 09:21 PM
I know you said local, but taking a drive could be worth a real trophy fish as well...




Good luck on your quest!

08-13-2014, 05:51 AM
Use a big stick bait. Somethig over 6" and have patience. It will take time.

Reel Fun
08-13-2014, 07:46 AM
Or just simply go to Amador/Camanche/Pardee etc when they are planting hogs! Then you can catch them from the shore! I have caught 6 lb truck trout at Amador. Keep in mind 100% of the fish you catch in a lake are likely "planters" and 1 lbers swim with 4 lbers. I was at Camanche last week and we were after Kokanee but we also got a few trout. At 70 ft the trout had copapods (sp?) so I think it was a little warm down there as well?

08-14-2014, 02:13 PM
loose all the flashers/dodgers.

stick bait's F11 F13 F18 rapala.
troll ten feet off the bottom with a set back of no less than 120'.
its tricky to get 10' off bottom with bait, figure a rapala F11 dives around 11 feet with 120' of line at 2.5mph.So drop your ball till it hits bottom then bring it up 11'.

the reason for letting ball hit bottom is blow back, blow back can off set your depth up to 4' and that four feet could be out of the strike zone.

If big fish show suspended in mid water than get your stick bait above them by at least 2 feet then slow down then speed up making your bait dive then rise.