View Full Version : Kings, Needlefish and Berryessa

04-18-2007, 12:19 PM
This report is a little late but I want to say something about one of my favorite lures that seems to have been abandoned by most anglers. Back a few years when clean (parasite free) rainbow trout were the primary cold water fish in Lake Berryessa, the Needlefish was my favorite lure of choice. We fished it off the downrigger without any dodger or flasher attached - just a small rudder to keep the line from twisting. We did attach flashers to the dowrigger weight and still do. This setup was very successful on the trout.

On Monday, 4/16 my son and I decided to try Berryessa for the first time this year. Launched at Markley Cove ($10 for old guys). We got a late start and did not get our lines down down until about 8:30 in the dam area. Used the same setup as described above for trout, with a bit of mini-crawler attached to the Needlefish hook. About 15 minutes after starting we caught a nice king at 60 feet. Then another small one, released. The action slowed after that. We did not see a lot of nets waving among the six or seven other boats in the area so about 10 or so we moved to the Narrows near Skiers Cove.

The fish observed on the sonar screen in this area were very deep so we dropped the downrigger to 90 feet and started getting action. Not red hot but a fish now and then. Unfortunately, a litttle after noon the fish seemed to disappear so we headed for home. We ended with six nice kings 15-19 inches. Not a great catch by some standards, but still a nice morning. We might have done a little better if we had gone to 90 feet sooner.

There may be many better ways to catch the kings (as described in many reports on this board) but Needlefish have the advantage of having no drag (as we fished them) and they work well at higher boat speeds. According to my GPS we were trolling at 1.7 to 1.9 mpg with buckets towed to slow my 115 Merc. Hope someone finds this helpful.

04-18-2007, 12:37 PM

Good report and nice catch. We did well on rolled shad and hoochies behind dodgers over the last few weeks but we also experimented.

One method we used was similar to your approach. We fished excel lures (like needlefish) behind Shark weights (@ 8-10 ft.) and did very well. the bite was good so we didn't note that the lures did any better or any worse than our other offerings. One young man in our group (Patrick the pup) fished a blue cripplelure and caught our biggest fish of the trip at 21 inches.

Thanks for the update on this great 2007 lake!

04-18-2007, 02:11 PM
I had the family out on that windy sunday and we did good trolling slingblades with white power grubs. Most of the big fish were caught at 92 ft. while a few 15 inchers were caught at 60 ft.

04-18-2007, 02:40 PM
Old Guy - Thanks, that is my favorite lure as well. It seems to do well in just about any lake. They sure did change their pattern huh? I was out last Fri and was going along at 40', like I had successfully the last 2 trips, weeks earlier. I heard people on the radio saying go down to 90', but what do those guys know...that was my 3rd time on that lake and I was now an expert. While I kept hearing the same braggers on the radio hauling in fish at 90', I stayed at 40' and caught only one.

04-18-2007, 03:12 PM
While I kept hearing the same braggers on the radio hauling in fish at 90', I stayed at 40' and caught only one.

I was one of those braggers :D :D
I was going to call you but couldn't remember your sniffer handle correctly

04-18-2007, 03:34 PM
I was going to call you but couldn't remember your sniffer handle correctly and how would you pronounce JPXF anyway:D ;D ;D
that was my 3rd time on that lake and I was now an expert. reminds me of a lot of sniffers here ;)

04-18-2007, 03:36 PM
Nice report Oldguy you got to love the the needlefish. Bob I wouldnt call it braggin,I would call it baggin.Not braggin but helpful on the water information free to all who are listening on the VHF. Like most kokanee guys I am always up for helping fellow fisher people get on the fish.

04-18-2007, 05:35 PM
Justrolling You sure do help people get on the fish. Keep up the good work. Ken

Rod Bender
04-18-2007, 06:45 PM
JT showed me how to use the Needlefish at IVR a few months ago. We caught some nice bows on them. I will have to try them on Friday when I am out there this time. I know FisherMunn and I will be there in our boats, anyone else going? They are calling for rain Friday morning, bring it on.

JT, it just won't be the same without you trolling with us. We will save you a few.

Martinez Frank
04-18-2007, 07:44 PM
I did pretty good a few weeks ago with pink needlefish, both trout and kings were hitting them

04-19-2007, 08:18 AM
Just call me Modesto John

04-19-2007, 02:57 PM
Grady 208 & Rod bender thnks for the kind words.Your killin me goin to the greatest lake in california on friday cant wait for the report.