The Fish Sniffer - Mother Lode Roundup
Mother Lode Roundup

Written By: Garry Erck, Dan Bacher, January 6, 2014
Species: Trout Catfish Bass
Location: McClure Reservoir, McSwain Reservoir, Lake Amador, Camanche Reservoir, New Melones Reservoir, Tulloch Reservoir, Don Pedro Reservoir,


(Ione) If you want to catch the big trout that Lake Amador is known from, fish in the top 18 inches of water.

That was the advice from Laurie Lockhart at Lake Amador, who recommended fishing PowerBait, Power Eggs, Kastmasters for maximum trout success.

“Fishing is pretty good,” she noted “About 6 out of every 10 people on the lake today are catching 3 to 5 trout. One angler caught a fish with a $100 tag also.’”

Big fish honors go to Vic Barelly of Ione, who landed a 7 lb. 6 oz. trout while fishing at the corner of the dam. Another fisherman, Jason Perry, bagged a 6.5 lb. channel catfish while soaking a nightcrawler off the boat house.

The Lake Amador Trout Derby will run through February 23. Prizes for the tagged fish include $100, two nights camping, boat rentals, day use food and clothing. The one time entry fee is $7.00.

The resort will hold a drawing on the last day at 2 pm and will pull out two $500 tags. The derby entrants must be present to win.



(Burson) The big trout plants and top-notch rainbow fishing continue at Lake Camanche.

“This week we planted 2,400 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbow trout, including 1,200 lbs. at North Shore, 600 lbs. at South Shore and 600 lbs. at the pond,” reported Merrisa Dolin at the Lake Camanche Recreation Company.

Kayla Halizer caught an 8.7 lb trout while fishing with family friends at Lake Camanche from the Narrows trolling just below the surface with Grubs. That was the first fish she has ever caught.

“This 7-year-old angler is now in the running to win an Annual Day Use Pass from us after bringing in the biggest trout our Marina Stores have weighed in 2013,” the report continued.

“It was another great week of fishing at Lake Camanche,” said Dolin. “In talking to the fishermen this past week, we discovered that the white grub currently the most popular bait for boat anglers. Dennis Wojdac of Elk Grove was using 2 inch white grubs in Causeway Cove when he reeled in an awesome stringer of five trout, topped by a 6.51 lb. rainbow.”

Bank anglers are finding that PowerBaits are doing the trick. Loren Maynard of Modesto caught his limit of fish weighing a total of 8.62 pounds at the trout pond. He was using a combination of Micetails and PowerBait.

Lake Camanche’s current elevation is 208.05 ft. above sea level. Water temperature is approximately 57 degrees, and the lake is 57% full. The inflow from Lake Pardee is currently at 11 cfs. and the outflow from Lake Camanche is 256 cfs.


New Melones

(Angels Camp) Now’s the time for bank anglers in pursuit of rainbow trout to hit New Melones Reservoir.

Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods reported “very good” bank fishing for trout, since the cold temperatures are moving a large number of rainbows towards the surface and the shorelines.

Shore fishermen are scoring with floating Power Bait in rainbow, chartreuse, salmon egg, or pink colors with garlic-scents being particularly effective. Kastmasters or Krocodile spoons are also working for anglers casting from the banks.

Lewis advised trollers to work from the surface to 30 feet in depth, especially near the shorelines. Side planers have been effective to keep the lure out of the boat’s wake and close to the banks. Night crawlers behind a dodger, rolled shad, or jointed plugs are all effective set ups.

Eddie LeRoy of Castro Valley and his friends caught 13 very nice rainbows weighing up to 3.88 pounds. “They reported catching them while still fishing from a boat near the dam on eggs and crawlers,” said Lewis.

“Bass fishing is slow with the fish holding in deep water from 40 to 70 feet,” she said. “Vertical jigging shad-patterned spoons over the bait balls, small shad-patterned plastics on the drop shot, or 3/4-ounce football head jigs with a crawdad-colored twin tailed grub, Brush Hog, or Sweet Beaver on a fluorocarbon line are good techniques to get the lethargic fish to bite. “

Catfish action is also slow, due to cold water temperatures. The channel cats are moving towards the ledges and the deep water near the mouths of creeks.

New Melones is currently holding 1,043,869 acre-feet of water. The lake level is currently at 948 ft. above sea level and 138 ft. from full. The water temperature should be in the mid to low fifties.



(Jamestown) Trout fishing is hit and miss at Tulloch Reservoir, with one good day followed by a tough day of fishing.

“My dad Don and I found really good fishing on one trip,” said Monte Smith of Gold Country Sportfishing. “We boated between 12 and 13 rainbows in the 1-1/2 to 2 pound range. We kept 6 of them; all were square tailed holdovers.”

The fishing slowed down on the following trip, when the two anglers fishing with Smith bagged 5 rainbows ranging from 1-1/2 to 2 pounds. They fooled the fish while using Chucker-T spoons on lead core line.

Tulloch at 500.10 feet in elevation and 84% of capacity.


Lake Don Pedro

(La Grange) After a slow period of fishing, Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported excellent fishing in the Moccasin Arm on his latest trolling adventure.

The fish were stacked up in the backs of the river arm. “My dad, Don and I landed 15 fish, lost 8 to 10 fish, and kept two fish. We had a lot of other strikes. All were rainbows ranging from 12 to 15 inches except for 15 inch brown.”

Smith caught the fish on the Chucker-T lures that he makes, but said Speedy Shiner and Ex-Cel lures are also effective. He trolled fast with lead core line near the surface to entice the rainbows.

“Pedro bass action is dismal,” reported Manny Basi at The Bait Barn. “Live minnows and nightcrawlers are pretty much the producer for folks. Any artificial action is going to be very tough. The better area – in a very poor action environment – has been Moccasin Marina.”

Don Pedro is at 50% of capacity



(Snelling) Choices - Ginger or Maryanne? McClure or McSwain? The first question’s answer is going to vary depending upon your preference of a fishing partner. But if you want to take home some fish, the answer to the second question is going to be McSwain – at least this week.

Jason Mello at A-1 Bait and Tackle tells anglers – point your boat at McSwain that’s the better choice this week.

“Sheer numbers point to McSwain.” said Jason Mello. “Trollers are seeing 3-5 fish per rod at the dam pulling flashers leading nightcrawlers or Wedding Rings. Bankies are really scoring with easy limits at the Brushpile or Handicap Dock – they are using Power Eggs and PowerBait – in rainbow or yellow – both scented up with garlic.”

“McClure kicked out a nice six pound bass on live crawdads – but other than that its tough,” reported Jason. “Trout anglers are seeing about one fish per boat, while shore trouters are seeing a better tally – but not by much.”

Lake McClure stands at 23% of capacity.

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