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Written By: Cal Kellogg, March 19, 2014
Location: Lake Amador,
There are lots of good trout lakes in the Motherlode region, including destinations like New Melones Reservoir and Lake Don Pedro. Most of the Motherlode’s trout lakes produce big trout from time to time, but there isn’t another lake in the area that produces as many big 4 plus pound trout as Lake Amador.
Lake Amador sits at an elevation of 481 feet and was formed in 1965 when the 1,140 foot long Jackson Creek Dam was built impounding the waters of Jackson Creek.
By California standards Amador is a small lake featuring 385 surface acres when at full capacity. But it’s not the size of the lake that excites anglers, it’s the size of the fish Amador produces that capture the imagination of fishermen.
The Lockhart family took over operations at Lake Amador in 1973. Early on the lake was a big hit for warm water anglers that enjoyed targeting bass, catfish and panfish. It didn’t take long for the Lockhart brain trust to realize that trout thrived in the lake’s shad rich waters, but this also presented a problem. The lake’s trout fishing created such a buzz that the Lockharts needed far more trout then the DFW could realistically plant. What to do?
At first the Lockharts bought fish from private hatcheries, but the prices were high and the quality and size of the fish was pretty poor. Dozens of books on aquaculture, extensive construction and the belief that they could raise better fish led the Lockharts into the hatchery business.
They imported expensive trout eggs all the way from Sweden at the cost of 5 cents each just to get a better fish. The Lockharts built 50,000 gallon octagon shaped cement tanks. Utilizing water treatment technology and liquid oxygen injection, all in order to raise a hard fighting, better eating and full finned trout. The process has worked flawlessly and now Lake Amador is widely known as one of the West’s premier trophy trout lakes.
With talk of huge trout and massive plants swirling about, expectations were running high when the Norcal Trout Anglers Challenge rolled into Amador on March 15. How would the low lake level effect the fishing? Would the big trout the lake is so famous for bite? These questions and more were on the minds of anglers going into the event, but in reality there was nothing to worry about.
While the lake level is lower then you would expect it to be in the middle of March, recent rains had actually raised the level more then 20 feet in the weeks leading up to the event. As far as the trout bite was concerned both boaters and bank anglers prospered during the tourney.
I arrived at the Amador Café a little before noon. After chatting with event organizers Vince Harris and Sheldon Bright, I spent some time walking the shoreline and visiting with anglers prior to the 3 pm weigh in deadline.
“I’ve caught four trout so far today,” related Fish Sniffer reader Marcus McCastle fishing from the face of the dam. “I haven’t got anything over 2 pounds yet, but I’ve seen some big fish landed along the shoreline and by guys trolling in boats. The action has been pretty good. I’ve got all my bites on Gulp! floating bait about 10 feet off the bank. It seems like the trout at this lake like to stick close to the shore.”
As I walked the shoreline McCastle’s assertions proved to be accurate. I spoke with several folks that had 3 to 5 pound trout on stringers and most of them had been caught on floating dough bait or Berkley Power Eggs fished close to the shoreline. While I saw a number of big fish while hiking the banks, I still wasn’t prepared for the shear number of huge trout I saw during the weigh in.
The top 10 finishers in the adult division all took home checks. To cash a check you had to have a trout weighing over 5 pounds Indeed the top 14 anglers landed trout over 4.5 pounds and the smallest fish recorded for the top 50 finishers weighed in at more than 2 pounds.
The three top fish weighed 7.51, 7.49 and 7.27 pounds respectively! Glen Nielson took the top spot and earned a $400 and a handsome trophy. Michael Dillbeck finished second and received $250 while Victor Knigge rounded out the top three and added $200 to his wallet!
Tournament Director Vince Harris ended the day with an exciting raffle with prizes from Berkley, Pautzke, Fenwick, P-Line, Vance’s Tackle, Dick Nite and others. When all was said and done the Lake Amador NTAC event provided big trout, big prizes, fun in the sun and lot’s of laughs and goodwill!
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 and Lake Amador. The next stop is Collins Lake on April 5 and then it’s on to 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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