View Full Version : New Melones 9/24 skinny trout

09-25-2008, 07:34 AM
We caught 3 trout yesterday a Melones, they were 16 inches and very skinny. Almost anorexic and had copepods on them. Fishing the main lake.
Just a heads up that they do not look healthy at all.

09-25-2008, 09:01 AM
Thanks for the report. Just reinforces my thoughts that Tulloch, of the two, is the trout lake now...

09-25-2008, 09:05 AM
fishguts, I was there last weekend with Mickey and Martinez Frank. We could not believe how many fish we were marking. The Rainbows were really pathetic. As starving as they look, you would think that they would jump on just about anything you put out there but that wasn't the case.

09-25-2008, 11:31 AM
We have dfiscussed the skinny trout issue at Melones before. The first time I experienced (skinny trout at Melones) was many years ago in late Oct/Nov right after kokes were planted in there. The premium Rainbow trout fishery that Melones was noted for is NO MORE. I think with the explosion of more bass planted and never removed just caught and released, AND the fact that kokes eat plankton which the lake's baitfish (gizzard shad) MUSt have to grow, the RBs will never again be the force and the draw they used to be. The koke plantings have ruined this lake for large RBs and is on it's way to doing the same thing at McClure. You would think that having kokes planted and ruining one local lake would be enough! Skinny fish are caused by no food to eat. On that day years ago I put 5 fish in the boat a half hour before dark , in the middle of the lake. All fish were 20-22 inches long and had big heads and skinny bodies.

I was at Melones a month or 2 ago and saw a bunch of baitballs of shad. Went back 2 weeks later and couldn't find any. My plan was to fish around the edges of them for nice sized trout. Obviously my plan failed. I hope some of us come to our senses and not plant a lake say Melones with kokes again and see what developes. Too big of a population of any fish in a lake will severely deplete it's food supply. I was fishing a stock pond once down South Of Merced for Large mouth bass. The lake was so severely over populated with bass that they were all small and sickly. Hope we wake up soon and do the right thing and not keep on making the same mistakes. iron-man

09-25-2008, 11:51 AM
i've seen the koke thing being brought up before. is the planting of kokes something that could be brought up to the dfg? could it be put on a revolving stock program, say every 5 years or so to let the shad populations come back? i know bass and trout guys alike that are blaming the kokes for the downfall of this fishery. the lack of water doesn't help either. 8-)

09-25-2008, 01:36 PM
I don't think its just one thing but a series of many events that occur. I like the Kokanee too but the causes of the trout decline have many layers. They don't have a very agressive trout stocking program either.

09-25-2008, 03:24 PM
I think you are missing the point that others and I have made or tried to make, Fishguts. There is no or little food available for the bigger trout to eat on once they wean themselves off of plankton. Shad eat plankton as their major food source as do the kokes. This year with the very large planting of small kokes no wonder there is no food left for the bait fish. There is a Rainbow planting program in place at Melones as well as one for browns.

Lowered water levels just means the fish should be concentrated in a smaller area. Believe me, I have seen the water level at Melones ALOT lower then it is now in the past. But we were still able to catch nice full grown and deep bodied RBs on every trip. There is an island at the North end of Rose (out toward the main channel) that has/had tall trees on it that were way up there in the air the last time the water level got way down. Maybe they are starting to show as I have not been to Melones for a month now. Everyone has been complaining that they are catching next years fish now and complaining abt their size. I personally hope they catch them all and give this trophy RB trout fishery a chance to come back. It was not uncommon back say 20 years ago (before kokes) to catch at least one 3-5 lb RB on every trip along with a limit of 12-15 inchers. Now , forget it

McClure was/used to be, known for football shaped RBs with their stomachs distended from eating so many shad. One time I/we counted 31 gizzard shad in one nice RBs stomach that we caught down there (Bef Kokes). We started to see all these little shad floating in the ice chest after the large trout was put in. So we decided to open it and count the bait fish. Not so today. Now it's just another another local lake ruined for large RBs that used to be quite common.

It is not the lowered water level so lets quit trying to make excuses. There ought to be ONE local lower elevation lake that doesn't have any kokes in it . Just a thought IM

09-25-2008, 03:51 PM
We were catching trout like that just 3 or 4 years ago. In 05 and 06 we were catching 3-4 3lb plus trout a month at NM. I'll have to look at some pics to check the year but Froggie caught more than a dozen 3lb + bows and a 4.5lb brown in one winter. It has been a really quick decline this time. we haven't seen any healthy trout this year at all!!I can see how the lower water would mean less plankton and all those kokes eat a lot of plankton. Maybe the kokes are cheaper for the state to raise or something!

09-25-2008, 06:12 PM
I don't think the problem can be solely tied to the kokanee. You look at a lake like Pardee where RBs, kokes and bass are all doing pretty well together and see the theory doesn't hold true across the board.

Not saying the competition for plankton isn't intense, but it could be the plankton reproduction is off for whatever reason and you're seeing the domino effect. Perhaps by addressing the problem lower in the food chain, you get closer to a situation like Pardee.

The real question is anyone actually studying this or is it a shoot from the hip exercise on the part of the gov't agencies?

09-25-2008, 06:18 PM
I'm going to stick with my alien theory... [smiley=alien.gif]

They've moved from bovines to trout.... I know they have. I've been intercepting their interstellar communications for years now. No, really... I have....

They're out there!!!!


09-25-2008, 07:25 PM
I live close enough to both Pardee and Melones that I have caught a lot of trout and kokanee at both lakes over the years so I'll throw in my $0.02 here. Pardee has a self sustaining population of kokanee, take a short ride up Electra road this time of year and scan the riffles, you will see plenty of nice red kokanee on the redds. In addition to the now native/wild population (those born in the lake/river system) of kokanee, there were annual plantings and the mature kokanee for many years were mostly 12 and 13 inch fish. The size of the plantings has decreased in recent years and the kokanee are running a little larger lately as there is more food per fish available than in the past. The rainbow fishery at Pardee is a successful put and take operation but the occasional larger rainbows caught there are fish that were planted at about the size they were caught. There has never to my knowledge been a situation at Pardee where the rainbows were undergoing rapid growth after planting in the lake. I have never had a Pardee rainbow regurgitate a dozen or more shad from a fully distended belly when brought aboard. Pardee was also the premier small mouth lake in the state for many years but that is no longer the case, although the smallmouth fishery is healthy, trophy small mouth bass are very hard to come by these days. Before the introduction of kokanee and the concerted effort by bass fishermen to make Melones a bass fishermans paradise, the planted rainbows experienced rapid growth and grew to football proportions in 1 or 2 seasons. It was not uncommon for me to catch a limit of 5 bows that would run between 10 and 15 pounds total weight most all winter long, and those fish would spit up literally dozens of small shad in the ice chest. The things that have changed at Melones since those glory days are increased plantings of kokanee that are eating the shad into submission and the explosion of the bass population in the lake due to mostly catch and release fishing by the bass community and the annual introduction of Florida strain largemouth by the bass folks as well as the introduction of spotted bass. I am convinced that a healthy rainbow fishery can be maintained at Melones even with all the bass if the kokanee plantings are either seriously reduced or discontinued altogether (my personal choice) because the shad and bows will spend enough time in open water that the bass will not be able to wipe out the healthy shad population that would result from lack of competition for food. I will agree that there are no doubt other factors that enter the equation but the introduction of too many kokanee to keep a healthy threadfin shad poulation available for the rainbows to forage on is responsible for at least 80% of the problem if not more. My opinion: Get rid of the kokanee and the bows will thrive.

09-25-2008, 08:43 PM
Sounds like it's time to start planting plankton!!.... ;D ;D ;D

09-25-2008, 08:56 PM
Way to go Mr Oxbow. Well stated. IM

09-25-2008, 10:59 PM
I like the debate. Thank you.