Anglers Brave Chilly Weather at Lake Pardee NTAC Event

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Deputy Bob Hauck of the Sacramento Sheriff Sportsman’s Project brought a group of youth to fish at Pardee during the NorCal Trout Angler’s Challenge at Pardee on March 3. Dylan Vang, shown here, landed the largest fish caught at the lake that day, a 4.30 lb. rainbow.
Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff.


Bank anglers did the best in the NorCal Trout Anglers Challenge event, sponsored by Angler’s Press and the Fish Sniffer magazine, at Lake Pardee during a cold front that moved into the Mother Lode days before.

“Although the forecast called for rain and even snow, the fishing was great, and a total field of 130 anglers participated in this event – which was double the amount from last year,” said Vince Harris, President/CEO – Angler’s Press Outdoor Promotions.

Although it was cold throughout the day, it didn’t rain until just as the awards ceremony was wrapping up .

All of the fish that I saw landed during the event were rainbow trout except for one big bluegill; there were no German browns landed like the one caught last year.

D.J. Woodring of Pleasanton won first place in the adult division of the event with a 2.93 lb. rainbow trout.

“It was the first time that I’ve won the event,” said Woodring. “I was fishing PowerBait from the bank in the main recreation area with five other people. That was the one fish I hooked. All of the other anglers I fished with finished in the top 20, hooking a total of 7 fish altogether, but my rainbow was the only one over 2 pounds.”

William Martinez won second place with a 2.64 lb. rainbow. Jay Huey, who took first place in the challenge at Pardee last year, won third place with a 2.61 lb. rainbow.

The fourth through tenth place winners were (4) Ashley Sannar, 2.52; (5) Justin Sannar, 2.52; (6) Dave Quick, 2.49; (7) Erica Flores, 2.44; (8) Joe Hill, 2.39; (9) Rick Fuentes, 2.24; and (10) Shawn Burrell, 2.24.

Conner Perkins won first place in the youth division with a 2.6 lb. rainbow. Luke Wichard placed second with a 2.58 lb. rainbow, while Joey Hill placed third with a 2.47 lb. trout.

The fourth through tenth place winners were (4) Jack Sannar, 2.16; (5) Jacob White, 1.94; (6) Ricardo Diaz II, 1.81; (7) Ricky McCulloch, 1.68; (8) Adrian Juarez, 1.56; (9) Khloe Sannar, 1.55; and (10), Blane Ebojo, 1.41.

Timothy Roach won $100 and a tackle box filled with Rooster Tail lures for catching a trout while using a Rooster Tail.

Deputy Bob Hauck of the Sacramento Sheriff Sportsman’s Project and another deputy brought a group of youth to fish the event. Dylan Vang, one of the youth, landed the largest fish caught at the lake that day, a 4.30 lb. rainbow.

“The purpose of our organization is to give inner city kids a unique experience by disconnecting from phones and connecting to the outdoors,” said Hauck.

Sponsors included Dodge Ram, Lasher’s Elk Grove Dodge, Gone Fishing Marine, Fisherman’s Warehouse, Sea Eagle Boats, Atlas Mike’s, Berkley, Yo-Zuri, Yakima Bait, Silver Horde/Gold Star, Hot Spot Apex, Panther Martin, Tasmanian Devil, Mack’s Lures, Pro-Cure Scents, Dick Nite Spoons and Thomas Fishing Lures.

Rainbow trout are the most popular species pursued at Pardee – and grow big and fat in the rich waters of the reservoir. Ronny Shelton of Ione set the lake rainbow record on June 14, 2002 when he landed an 18.65 lb. fish while bank fishing with Power Bait in the recreation area.

The fishing this season opened under new management, the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company, on February 16. Shore anglers found exceptional fishing while using an array of offerings on the opening weekend.

“The fishing was amazing on opening day,” said Brad Hoyt of the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company. “Everybody reported catching limits of trout in the main recreation area. They used PowerBait, Power Eggs, Pistol Pete lures and other offerings for a mixture of planted and holdover rainbows to 8 pounds.”

Three anglers fishing with Big Al’s Guide Service experienced great trout fishing on opening day, catching limits of rainbows averaging 16 inches within 3 hours and one 16 inch kokanee salmon. They trolled with hot steel Rapalas near the surface and with hoochies, tipped with white corn, at 25 feet deep.

The lake management planted 13,000 pounds of rainbow trout before opening day to add to the thousands of holdover trout left over in the lake from heavy plants last year.

Each week from now through April 27 there will be 1000 pounds of trout planted in Lake Pardee. The delivery date should be typically on Fridays, but that can change depending on the plante’rs availability. There will be more planting after April 27, but that schedule isn’t available yet.

Trollers can catch good numbers of holdover rainbows while trolling spoons, spinners, minnow imitation lures and nightcrawlers from the surface to 20 feet deep from the Narrows to the dam.

Shore anglers can also pick up quality rainbows in the 1 to 5 lb class while fishing nightcrawlers, Power Eggs and PowerBait on sliding sinker rigs.

The lake also a sleeper population of wild German browns that spawns in the Mokelumne River and ventures into the lake in search of forage, including the abundant trout and kokanee.

Chris Harris of Sacramento set the lake brown trout record in 2010 when he landed a 15.36 lb. fish while trolling for kokanee at 30 feet deep near the dam. He was using a pink fire tiger Uncle Larry’s spinner behind a Sep’s dodger.

Kokanee salmon are another popular salmonid fishery at Lake Pardee. The fish are extremely abundant, finding excellent spawning conditions in the Mokelumne River, so the CDFW no longer plants the reservoir with the kokes.

While most anglers fish the lake for salmonids, the lake is home of record-class smallmouth bass. Harold Hardin of Stockton set a new state smallmouth bass record in July 2007 by landing a 9.83 lb. bronzeback, shattering the previous state record of 9.1 pounds caught by Tom Brady of Weaverville in 1976 at Trinity Lake. He fooled the fish with a 6 inch long charcoal colored Castaic swimbait in his aluminum boat.

Then during a Lake Pardee Media Day in 2008, two anglers bagged two monster smallmouths over 9 pounds in one day.

Allen Fong of Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento caught and released a 9 lb. 5 oz. smallmouth while fishing with a green Yamamoto jig outside of the recreation area cove in 20 feet of water. Bass pro Dean McDaniel also nailed a 9 lb. 2 oz. largemouth while fishing a grub in the same area.

While known for its huge smallmouth, Pardee also has a good population of northern strain largemouth bass. Jack Billington from Ione captured the Pardee Lake record when he caught and released a 13.4 lb. largemouth using Blade Runner chartreuse and white craw jig on March 22, 2007.

Other species found in the reservoir include channel catfish, bluegill and crappie.     

Located on the Mokeumne River, Pardee Recreation Area provides stunning views and diverse activities for all visitors, old and young. The park is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada of Northern California and is just twelve miles southwest of Jackson.

As the center of EBMUD’s drinking supply, to comply with state law, personal water crafts, water skiing, and lake swimming are not permitted.

For more information about the NorCal Trout Angler’s Challenge, call Vince Harris at (916) 768-0938 or go to:

Lake Pardee Facts 

Location and size: Situated on the Mokelumne River in the Mother Lode foothills west of Ione, Lake Pardee has 2257 surface acres and 37 miles of shoreline when full.

Management: The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) oversees the operation and maintenance of facilities, determines recreation fees and establishes rules and regulations. The recreation facilities are operated by the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company.

Camping: Lake Pardee features a total of 141 beautiful, oak studded campsites located within two separate campgrounds within its boundaries. Campsites offer plenty of shade, are clean and each contain a picnic table and a fire ring. Clean, portable toilets are within a short walk. In each campground, running water is close to or right next to a site. Two ADA designed handicap sites are also available. Lakeview Campground is within walking distance of most facilities. The Oaks Campground is a little more secluded. For reservations and fee information, call (209) 772-1472.

RV Sites: Nightly and weekly RV sites, known as “C” units, are located in the Oaks Campground and feature full hook-ups, including electricity, water, and sewer connections. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring.

Boat ramp: The ten-lane boat launch ramp is a real convenience for easy launching and exiting. The extra long trailer parking area is also a plus to boaters at Pardee. Note: EBMUD rangers will be inspecting boats for the presence of Quagga and Zebra mussels.

Marina: Pardee’s full service marina features boat rentals, boat supplies, fuel, ice, propane, oil, bait, tackle, beverages, sandwiches and snacks, lake maps and fishing licenses.

Boat rentals: are available out of Lake Pardee Marina for hourly, half day, full day and weekly rates. Deluxe and pontoon boat rentals are also available.

Fishing fees: Permits are $6.00 each day for each individual 16 years and older. A valid California fishing license is also required for all persons fishing who are age 16 and older.

Fish cleaning facilities: The state-of-the-art fishing cleaning station is an automated system where you simply approach the station and the grinder turns on automatically. Also, it is ADA designed for the disabled. It’s open 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

For more information, contact Rocky Mountain Recreation Company, 4900 Stony Creek Road, Ione, CA  95640-9439, Office: (209) 772-1472, 1-800-416-6992.