Mother Lode Roundup

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Lake Amador

(Ione) The big news at Lake Amador is that the long awaited trout plants have started – and shore anglers are hooking fish averaging 1 to 2-1/2 pounds.

“We planted 3500 pounds on Thursday, October 22 and another plant of 3,000 pounds on November 5,” reported Lee Lockhart at Lake Amador Resort.

“Two anglers limited out while fishing off the docks with pink and white Power Eggs on the bottom today,” he stated. “Yesterday a guy limited out on trout while using pink Power Worms off the docks.”

Shore fishermen are also employing orange PowerBait and orange Kastmasters to entice the trout.  Trollers should troll Rapalas or nightcrawlers behind flashers at  15 feet deep.

Bass fishermen are few and far between. Lockhart recommended throwing top water lures off the main points in the mornings and evenings.

The water level is 46 feet from full and the surface water temperature is 69 to 70 degrees and dropping.



(Burson) Anglers fishing at Lake Camanche this fall have reported some superb fishing for crappie and catfish.

Ty and his son Beau brought in a nice bunch of 36 crappie weighing a total of 29.4 lbs.  “Ty was fishing down the Narrows with a jig,” according to Terry Willard at the Camanche Recreation Company. “This makes Ty the winner of this week’s Lake Camanche Monster Fish T-Shirt! “

Cats are hot,” she added. “Henry Barner of Concord was fishing nightcrawlers off the north shore peninsula when he bagged a stringer of five catfish weighing a total of 36.76 pounds. The biggest two fish weighed 12.52 and 11.32 pounds.”

The lake management will begin planting rainbow trout in the South Trout Pond and at the North Shore and South Shore any day now as the water cools down.


New Melones

(Angels Camp) In spite of the continuing drought, the water level at New Melones came up one foot this past week. Black bass and channel catfish continue to provide the top fishing options.

“The bass bite has been really good for a few weeks and the fish are feeding heavily on schooling shad,” revealed John Liechty at Glory Hole Sports. “The fall is a great time to hit the water to catch a bunch of fish. There is always the chance to catch a big one, but most anglers are catching a ton of 1 to 3-pound fish.”

“Many different presentations have been working, so it is very important to let the fish tell you what they want,” he advised. “It is like there is an on/off switch for each presentation. It is best to have multiple rods rigged with baits that can be fished at various depths. Try using topwater baits in the morning or during low light conditions.”

“Many bass are suspended over deep water,” said Liechty. “These fish can be difficult to find and catch, but they are usually schooled up and you can catch one after another. You can position your boat directly over the top of them and use a drop-shot rig fished vertically to catch them. Small shad-shaped soft plastics and 4” hand pours are both a good choice. “

“When the bass feed aggressively on schools of shad, they will often stun or wound many fish. These baits will fall to the bottom and quiver. Some of the larger, lazy bass know this and will let the little bass do the work. They will sit below and feed on injured shad that are easy meals. Try using a split-shot rig with a shad patterned worm to mimic a wounded shad.”

Bank anglers are still catching hefty channel cats in the coves. “With winter right around the corner they are going to feed heavily in preparation of the colder winter months,” said Liechty. “They will move shallow throughout the day and night to feed primarily on other fish and crawdads.“

Try using scents that match the natural forage in the lake. Shad, crawfish, rainbow trout and nightcrawler are good choices for a natural scent. Add them to your frozen bait a few days before your fishing trip to ensure the bait soaks up the scent, he advised.

Trout fishing remains slow and kokanee salmon action is over for the season. Expect shore fishing and trolling for rainbows to pick up when the water cools down more and the lake waters turn over.

New Melones Lake is currently holding 278,992 acre-feet of water, and is 802 ft. above sea level and 283 ft. from full.  The water clarity is stained in many areas and will occasionally clear up. The water temperature is starting to cool, with the average being 68-72 degrees.

Glory Hole Point boat launch is a one lane dirt and gravel road leading off of the end of the point. There is not a courtesy dock and it is best to launch with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.


Don Pedro

(La Grange) “We have reports that bass are offering up a decent bite on shad pattern crankbaits,” said Jim at Fisherman’s Friend in Lodi. 

“Darker Senko patterns have also been productive.  Better areas seem to be the back ends of coves – as we would normally see a transition this time of year out to the larger body of water; but this is an odd year and you fish where you find them. Be sure to key in on the bait, and the bass will follow,” he tipped.

“Trout reports have been zero – it will be dismal for trouters until we get some rain at Don Pedro,” he added.

Don Pedro is at 31% of capacity.


McClure/ McSwain

(Snelling) If you want to hook fish, give catfishing a try at both McClure and McSwain lakes.

“Both lakes are tough right now,” reported Anthony Oates at A-1 Bait and Tackle.  “But I have noted an uptick in the catfish bite at McClure and McSwain – not big ones, but a good enough bite for people to chase them. Better baits have been cut mackerel and chicken livers. McClure cats have been at Barrett Cove and those wanting a long walk will find them at McClure Point too.”

For bass at McClure, he recommended using Senkos and live crawdads and minnows.

“McSwain cats have been along the warmer shorelines. A few bass have been tossed in too. Trout action has been dead for quite some time at McSwain,” he revealed.

Lake McClure is at 8% of capacity.