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It was an epic scene at Collins Lake on April 5 when the Nor-Cal Trout Anglers Challenge paid the lake a visit. It was the third event in what can only be described as a wildly successful NTAC season.
Fish Sniffer supporters lined the banks and blanketed the water at Collins in watercraft of every description, from float tubes and kayaks to skiffs and full blown 20 plus foot Aluminum “trout sleds”.
The Swim Beach was lined shoulder to shoulder and I could see another big contingent of bank anglers in the distance down near the dam. A dozen trollers were grinding off the eastern end of the dam, while another cluster of boats worked the mouth of the narrows.
Walking the shoreline from boat launch to Elmer’s Cove I found that most folks were landing fish and I saw several trout netted by trollers working just offshore.
As good as the fishing was, the real highlight of the event was the vibe of friendship and good will put forth by the participants. Fish Sniffer supporters are avid anglers and they like nothing better then getting together with other Sniffers.
“I just want to tell you how much I’m enjoying these tournaments,” said Denny Houser while bank fishing near the Collins Lake launch ramp. “The trout are biting today and my whole family is having a good time. My daughter landed a tagged fish and won and ice cream cone.”
Further down the shoreline I came upon Doug Albright. Doug had two trout on his stringer and was playing a third when I arrived and asked what he was using.
“It’s a secret, I call it orange PowerBait,” Doug laughed. “I’ve come up here twice this week to pre-fish for the tournament. I’ve tried lures, flies, worms and some other stuff, but I wasn’t able to find anything better then regular PowerBait.”
“I’ve been reading about Collins Lake quite a bit in the Sniffer, but I hadn’t been up here in a long time. I’ll definitely be back. The fishing is great and the water level is pretty high and seems to be coming up even more,” continued Doug.
The Fishing On April 5
Standard tactics and tried and true Collins Lake offerings were the keys to success for tournament participants. Shore anglers scored well on PowerBait in various colors and I noticed several anglers scoring with Pautzke Fire Bait. The Berkley Power Mouse (Berkley Trout Worm combined with a Power Egg) accounted for some fish too.
Lure tossers working off the bank as well as trollers hammered big fish on chrome and blue Kastmasters and Kastmasters in other baitifish hues. Kastmasters have a well earned reputation for being deadly in Collins Lake’s shad rich waters. Rapalas, threaded worms, Sep’s Grubs and Berkley Power Grubs also produced good results for the trolling fraternity.
Clearly at this point Collins is full of rainbows because the fishing was equally good all around the lake. I got good reports from anglers bank fishing near the dam. The trollers working off the dam and Swim Beach did well as did the guys working up near the power lines in the narrows. And as I mentioned before most of the anglers lining the Swim Beach and Elmer’s Cove had trout.
The Top Finishers
We’ve seen a lot of big trout caught on the NTAC tournament trail this year and that trend continued at Collins Lake. While we didn’t seen any of those Collins Lake monsters in the 6 to 8 pound class that show up regularly, we did see a parade of healthy colorful rainbows in the 3 and 4 pound class.
It took a fish of 4 pounds to land in the top 4, a fish of 3 pounds to make it into the top 21 and if you wanted to finish in the top 25 you had to have something as larger than 25th place finisher Anthony Crawford’s 2.93 pound ‘bow.
In the adult division Patrick Gully took the top spot and $500 for his 4.37 pound trout. Dustin Osterberg came in second and earned $400 for his 4.09 pounder. Rick Grimmette rounded out the top three with a 4.08 pound rainbow and took home $300. Kyle Burrow, Barry Golden, Dennis Feckner, Juliet Perey, Matthew Fernandez, Cassandra Koffman and Andria Joven rounded out the top 10 and each took home a check for $100.
Devon Osterbery took the top spot in the kids division with a 3.49 pound rainbow. Michaela Ives came in second with a 2.97 pound trout, while Jessica Shavers took the third spot with her 2.91 pound trout.
Headwaters Kayak And Fish Sniffer Combine Forces And Award Jackson Kayak To Lucky Collins Lake Qualifier
Anglers that fish Nor-Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge events compete for cash and prizes. Two of the most exciting prizes this season come in the form of two kayaks, a Jackson Cruise 10 and a Moken 10. These kayaks come from the collaboration of Headwaters Kayak and The Fish Sniffer. The Jackson Cruise 10 was given away at Collins Lake on April 5.
Here’s the way the kayak give away worked. After the cash prizes for the top 10 anglers in the adult division were awarded, every adult that finished in the top 25 was given an envelope. Only one of the envelopes contained a card. If you got the card, you won the kayak.
April 5 was Koua Thao’s lucky day. For starters it was his birthday. Then he landed a 3.36 pound trout that placed him in the No. 13 spot in the tournament…You guessed it, Koua’s envelope held the card and he paddled home in a brand new Jackson Kayak!
“The Jackson Cruise 10 is a small kayak perfectly suited for tossing into the bed of a truck and launching virtually anywhere. It's wide stable platform and elevated seat make it comfortable and easy for stand up fishing. It comes with the Elite High Low Seat, Ram Rod holders, Jackson Water Bottle, Coleman Paddle and Headwaters fishing crate. Total value is over $1000 for this setup,” related Headwaters owner Dan Arbuckle.
About The NTAC And What’s Coming Up…
The NTAC is what I’d call the “every man’s” or “every family’s” trout fishing event. Sure each event offers up a bunch of cash prizes, gear and other goodies, but the entry fees are low. If you pre register adults only pay $15 to participate and kids under 15 are free. If you wait until game day to register, it will still only cost an adult $20 and a junior angler $5.
As if those prizes weren’t exciting enough, the NTAC season will end with a Tournament of Champions shootout where the overall winner will take home a fully rigged Klamath Boat complete with motor and trailer!
The top 25 youth finishers and the top 50 adult finishers from each of the 5 regular season tournaments will be invited to participate in the end of season TOC for a shot at the boat and a bunch of other cash and prizes!
The folks at the NTAC recognize the financial challenges that many anglers face these days, especially those raising families, so they’ve worked hard to keep entry fees low enough such that anglers on a budget can still enjoy the thrill of competition.
Along these same lines the dates and destinations for all NTAC tournaments were given special consideration to insure that the time of the year and venue set the stage for a level playing field for both boaters and bank anglers.
In other words the tournaments are held at certain destinations at certain times of the year when bank bound dough slingers and float tube trollers have just as much chance of winning the tournament as a guy equipped with a 25 foot aluminum sled decked out with downriggers and the latest electronics.
The NTAC Tour has already visited San Pablo Reservoir, Lake Amador and Collins Lake. The next stop is Lake Camanche on May 31.
For more information go to http://www.anglerspress.com or call (916) 768-0938.Back To Reports
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