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View Full Version : New to trout, and I can't even catch a cold



Dayv27
07-06-2011, 11:44 AM
Haven't fished in nearly 20 years. Used to go striper fishing out on the delta near Sherman island. About a month ago, my neighbor got me to pick up the rod again, and head to the river after trout. We've been fishing the Mokolumne river in ever possible place from Camanche dam to Ox-bow marina. I've tried Lake Amador, I've tried Pardee. No trout. Well nothing other than 2 4" hatchery rainbows.I'm using a 6' rod, medium action, spinning reel with spider wire mono 8# test, running an 18" leader on Vanish flouro, with a 1/2 oz sliding egg, tied to either #8 eagle claw singles, or trebles. I've tried night crawlers, red wigglers, trout nuggets, power eggs, salmon eggs, chartreuse power bait, panther martin spinners, and kastmaster spoons. I'm going either mornings between 7-10am, and in the evenings between 5-9 pm.I can't catch a cold! Ive caught one small small mouth, and 4 blue gills. No trout. I've read everything I can find to read. Before my wife uses me for bait to stop me from buying more "stuff", I beg y'all for some advice. Is anything in the above screaming "you'll never catch anything with that"?I'm open to any suggestions for times, places, gear or anything else.

SuckerPunch
07-06-2011, 12:25 PM
First, the hooks seem a little big - if you're fishing for hatchery fish and you're using PowerBait, you want a small, SMALL treble such as a size 18 or 20. The single hook size you have is okay for nightcrawlers, but not for the other baits (e.g., salmon eggs).

Second, what size is your leader? Although fluorocarbon is very hard to see in the water, its diameter for a given pound test is the same as monofilament, in addition to being stiffer. So, if you're using 8-lbs fluoro for leader, it might be restricting the sway of your floating baits, which can at times be really, really important for getting hatchery fish to eat a bait. If the water's relatively clear, I use 2-lbs mono for floating baits.

Third, do you have a thermometer? That may be the most important piece of equipment in trout fishing.

Fourth, how big are the metal lures that you're throwing? As the water gets warmer, you generally need to go smaller and darker in order to get a trout to eat one, and you want to fish 'em as slow as possible. For example, if the water's in the high 40s or low 50s, I'll throw 1/6-oz nickel Super Dupers; if it's in the mid-to-high 50s or low 60s, I'll throw gold/green 1/16-oz spinners; if the water's in the high 60s, I'll throw dinky all-black spinners and spoons.

Fifth, when you're fishing your sliding-sinker rig, do you tighten up your line or hang a bobber off your line that serves as a strike indicator? If so, you may have been missing fish. Trout want to feel NO resistance when they pick up a bait, hence the sliding-sinker rig. However, having a tight line or using something with weight as an indicator negates the sliding-sinker rig.

As far as your tackle, what I'd do is just stick to a few things - rainbow PowerBait, nightcrawlers, Kastmasters (1/8, 1/12 oz in nickel and gold), and Panther Martins (1/8-oz in black/gold, 1/16-oz in all black). Add some sliding sinkers, #12 barrel swivels, #18/20 trebles, #8 baitholders (for 'crawlers), and split-shot (for streams). That's all the tackle you really need.

However, all of the above are fairly minor things - with the lures/bait you've mentioned, you should have gotten at least a few trout if you were putting your lure/bait in the right place.

Put another way, it seems like you're spending too much time playing around with/thinking about bait/lures than thinking where the fish might be.

All the waterways you've mentioned are at low elevations, hence have probably been pretty warm the last month, so my gut instinct tells me you're not fishing deep enough (i.e., in cooler water). Although I've never fished 'em, I know Pardee and Camanche both are stocked and both get hammered - most groups that stock waterways won't do it when the water gets too warm. Since most hatchery fish get caught within the first four days of being dumped into a lake, you might be fishing for fewer trout than if you went higher up in elevation.

Hope this helps.

JwG
07-06-2011, 12:40 PM
SuckerPunch gave you a GREAT report.
Read it and reread it as it is loaded with information!

He posted, as I was typing about the same thing so I won't repeat.

Sometimes the 'Hot Bite Lakes' are not so 'Hot'.
No stuff on your hands, sunscreen, aftershave, etc.
Time of bite is a funny thing, I've had it get 'Hot' from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm, nothing before or after.
The fish feel negative vibes right down the line, stay fresh!

RideNfish
07-06-2011, 01:30 PM
You have received great advice from the previous but just want to reiterate. Water temp might be your biggest problem right now. It's time for higher elevation for trout. Also as mentioned on your slider rig, go light leader. At leaste down to 4lbs. The heaviest line I have on any of my trout poles is 4lbs and that's not the leader. (trolling would require a bit heavier line).

Your experience with trout right now is almost equal to my striper experience this year but I keep at it. You will have trout soon. I can tell. You just have to shoot for higher terrain to increase your odds. Consider looking at the DFG planting schedules (click here) (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Hatcheries/FishPlanting/). That will tell you where they live this time of year. The foothill lakes are not being planted and that says something.

Cheers,

Dayv27
07-06-2011, 02:41 PM
First, the hooks seem a little big - if you're fishing for hatchery fish and you're using PowerBait, you want a small, SMALL treble such as a size 18 or 20. The single hook size you have is okay for nightcrawlers, but not for the other baits (e.g., salmon eggs).
I'm using the #20 trebles for the power bait


Second, what size is your leader? Although fluorocarbon is very hard to see in the water, its diameter for a given pound test is the same as monofilament, in addition to being stiffer. So, if you're using 8-lbs fluoro for leader, it might be restricting the sway of your floating baits, which can at times be really, really important for getting hatchery fish to eat a bait. If the water's relatively clear, I use 2-lbs mono for floating baits.
I've got 4lb Vanish flourocarbon at about 18" worth of leader.


Third, do you have a thermometer? That may be the most important piece of equipment in trout fishing.
No, I don't. What kind?


Fourth, how big are the metal lures that you're throwing? As the water gets warmer, you generally need to go smaller and darker in order to get a trout to eat one, and you want to fish 'em as slow as possible. For example, if the water's in the high 40s or low 50s, I'll throw 1/6-oz nickel Super Dupers; if it's in the mid-to-high 50s or low 60s, I'll throw gold/green 1/16-oz spinners; if the water's in the high 60s, I'll throw dinky all-black spinners and spoons.
Most of the lures I've been using are in the 1/8-1/4 oz range.


Fifth, when you're fishing your sliding-sinker rig, do you tighten up your line or hang a bobber off your line that serves as a strike indicator? If so, you may have been missing fish. Trout want to feel NO resistance when they pick up a bait, hence the sliding-sinker rig. However, having a tight line or using something with weight as an indicator negates the sliding-sinker rig.
Usually when I cast into the river, with the 1/2 oz sliding egg, I cast, let the weight go until it feels like it hit bottom, and then when the current takes it, I'll let the drag way off until it feels like the line has stopped moving then re-tighten the drag a bit. Should I go with a different type of sinker? A bank sinker so it holds the bottom better?

{snip}


Put another way, it seems like you're spending too much time playing around with/thinking about bait/lures than thinking where the fish might be.
I wouldn't be surprised.
Thank you so much for these bits of info. It's something more to work with, and stuff I will play around with. As for the nothing on the hands, what I've been told by some old codger and do is to after applying the daily dose of sunscreen, wash the hands really good with an unscented dish soap to get rid of any oils off the hands, and then once at the fishing hole, swish your hands in the local mud/water for a rinse for the local smell before picking up your gear.

JwG
07-06-2011, 02:59 PM
Your experience with trout right now is almost equal to my striper experience this year but I keep at it. You will have trout soon. I can tell. You just have to shoot for higher terrain to increase your odds. Consider looking at the DFG planting schedules (click here) (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Hatcheries/FishPlanting/). That will tell you where they live this time of year. The foothill lakes are not being planted and that says something.

Cheers,

You're doing good Dayv27,

Like RideNfish's quote, 'You will have trout soon'.

Hang in there!
We all can tell you about dry times.

Jfitalia
07-06-2011, 05:27 PM
you have the right idea you just need to downsize all of it. your line should be no heavier than 4lb test and hooks especially single hooks I would use a size 10 or 8 at max.

In Season
07-06-2011, 09:17 PM
Ok every time I go to pardee/camanche I always use the same bait set-up.. 6 pound line , 4 pound leader, and salmon peach power bait as the bait. The leader should be 5-6 feet long if your casting 40 feet out or more.And I agree with Jfitalia (http://www.fishsniffer.com/members/jfitalia.html) about the line and hooks,but recently the trout at pardee seemed much bigger so I recommend 6.(the fish were 5# for us) And for the bait I always make it into a small Ball then with both hands rub together and make it look more like a caterpillar of some sort haha.


here is the ballhttp://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad266/avdo11/CIMG3540.jpg


now here is how your bait should look, but using salmon peach of course..

http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad266/avdo11/CIMG3541.jpg

SuckerPunch
07-07-2011, 09:03 AM
I'm using the #20 trebles for the power bait


I've got 4lb Vanish flourocarbon at about 18" worth of leader.


No, I don't. What kind?


Most of the lures I've been using are in the 1/8-1/4 oz range.


Usually when I cast into the river, with the 1/2 oz sliding egg, I cast, let the weight go until it feels like it hit bottom, and then when the current takes it, I'll let the drag way off until it feels like the line has stopped moving then re-tighten the drag a bit. Should I go with a different type of sinker? A bank sinker so it holds the bottom better?

{snip}


I wouldn't be surprised.
Thank you so much for these bits of info. It's something more to work with, and stuff I will play around with. As for the nothing on the hands, what I've been told by some old codger and do is to after applying the daily dose of sunscreen, wash the hands really good with an unscented dish soap to get rid of any oils off the hands, and then once at the fishing hole, swish your hands in the local mud/water for a rinse for the local smell before picking up your gear.

Here's a good thermometer: Cortland Pocket Fishing Thermometer | Skate the Fly (http://www.skatethefly.com/Tools/Cortland-Line-Co-Pocket-Thermometer.asp)

Tackle-wise, it looks like that most of what you're doing is okay, although I generally fish longer leaders (4-6 feet) than you do. For plunking - that's what you're doing in the stream - yeah, a bank sinker or even just a snap-loc dipsey sinker would work better than an egg sinker. The egg sinker rolls too much in the current. Still, I wouldn't plunk in streams for trout.

Plunking works for steelhead and salmon since they're constantly moving through the river. Trout, on the other hand, being residents, usually just hold position in a spot where they're safe from predators, don't have to fight the current too much, and have easy access to food. These spots are found, for example, behind and in front of big boulders or logs, underneath root wads, in the white water at heads of pools, and in current seams. Consequently, you have to take your bait to the fish in those areas - they're not going to leave those areas to eat a bait on a plunking rig sitting in featureless water. Drift rigs and lures work much, much better in streams for trout than plunking rigs.

As for lakes and reservoirs, when the water is stratified (i.e., there's a layer of warm water (the epilimnion) that floats on a thinner layer of water in which the temperature changes rapidly (the thermocline) that, in turn, sits on the lowest layer of water, which is cold (the hypolimnion)), trout hunker down in the cooler water right at the interface between the epilimnion and the thermocline. Although this depth varies quite a bit among waterways, it's usually around 30 to 40 feet down. In your typical hatchery-trout lake, if you can fish that depth at a corner or point (corners and points often concentrate food) near to where the truck dumps its load, you should be able to get fish. Frequently during summer when the fish are that deep, the bite will start a little bit later in the morning - the trout need the sun to come up a bit so they can see their prey (or your bait) in those depths. If you're at a lake that has good growths of aquatic plants, trout will frequently come up into that shallow water in the early morning to feed on the aquatic insects those plants support.

JTroutMan
07-07-2011, 09:34 AM
all good advice. My 2 cents - when I 'switched' to trout fishing from river stripers/cats, I didn't really want to trout fish close by to valley (i.e. I lived in Sac), thus, as noted, Pardee/Camanche etc didn't seem desirable, especially in summer. Thus, trout for me meant high elevation, pine trees and much better scenery (along with less crowds, especially on midweek). Long story short, get some 4lb test line, and invest the extra $ for gas to head up the hills. On US 50 or Highway 88 side or HIghway 4 side, try Loon Lake, Caples, or Spicer Meadows (if you go there, don't forget to catch a few high altitude cats at Union lake on way in). Up highway 80, try Fuller or Prosser lakes. Give the power bait a shot, but also inflated crawlers and use two pole stamp and cast lures (kastmaster, crocodiles, panther martins or mepps) at same time......by the way, most high elevation lakes are free, so what you lose in gas, you gain in entry fee compared to Pardee, etc.....

In Season
07-07-2011, 10:02 AM
all good advice. My 2 cents - when I 'switched' to trout fishing from river stripers/cats, I didn't really want to trout fish close by to valley (i.e. I lived in Sac), thus, as noted, Pardee/Camanche etc didn't seem desirable, especially in summer. Thus, trout for me meant high elevation, pine trees and much better scenery (along with less crowds, especially on midweek). Long story short, get some 4lb test line, and invest the extra $ for gas to head up the hills. On US 50 or Highway 88 side or HIghway 4 side, try Loon Lake, Caples, or Spicer Meadows (if you go there, don't forget to catch a few high altitude cats at Union lake on way in). Up highway 80, try Fuller or Prosser lakes. Give the power bait a shot, but also inflated crawlers and use two pole stamp and cast lures (kastmaster, crocodiles, panther martins or mepps) at same time......by the way, most high elevation lakes are free, so what you lose in gas, you gain in entry fee compared to Pardee, etc.....

+1 Heading up next week

Jfitalia
07-07-2011, 10:56 AM
Ok every time I go to pardee/camanche I always use the same bait set-up.. 6 pound line , 4 pound leader, and salmon peach power bait as the bait. The leader should be 5-6 feet long if your casting 40 feet out or more.And I agree with Jfitalia (http://www.fishsniffer.com/members/jfitalia.html) about the line and hooks,but recently the trout at pardee seemed much bigger so I recommend 6.(the fish were 5# for us) And for the bait I always make it into a small Ball then with both hands rub together and make it look more like a caterpillar of some sort haha.


here is the ballhttp://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad266/avdo11/CIMG3540.jpg


now here is how your bait should look, but using salmon peach of course..

http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad266/avdo11/CIMG3541.jpg




As long as you have a good rod paired with a reel with a good drag then you wont need the 6lb test line. I only use 2lb and 3lb test for all trout fishing. My biggest trout of 12lbs was on 2lb test as well as numerous 5-8lbers. You'll get more strikes from fish (especially with lures) withthe lighter line in clear water. Plus the lures will have more action.

EvanKallinen
07-07-2011, 04:51 PM
I like to keep it simple with a shakespear spinning reel 6lb line mono with a size 10 hook & Crawler with a sinker or two a foot up from that. i go river fishing for brook and rainbow trout lots of 2-3 pounders they seem to taste better anyway! this set up on a good river on a good day has caught me 20+ trout! but good advise

StokeyBob
07-09-2011, 09:08 PM
Pump the kids for information if your new to a lake. They will know all the spots and what is usually working.