Continuing rains and late spring fishing problems

By: George deVilbiss
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It used to be an annual event, water rushing and flowing over the top of Shasta Dam, the largest man-made lake in California.


Because of a multi-year drought, Shasta Lake and most others throughout the state, were mere fractions of their potential maximum fill. The last time water breached the top was 1998. It’s amazing what a wet winter will do.


Right now, Shasta is at 98 percent capacity. It would easily be 100 percent except they’ve been dumping water from the lake so that it will adequately take on continuing rainfall runoff, especially in the north state and scatter areas throughout the west slope of the Sierra.


A couple of inches of rain falling on massive amounts of snows that still coat many parts of the Sierra can spell a great deal of water going downhill into awaiting reservoirs.


Because dam gates have been opened to additional, unplanned releases, rivers have raised levels. Impact? Some fisheries were immediately made considerably tougher, such as the shad fishery that’s currently fully underway.



Winds have made the on-the-water fishing activities a little more challenging, but now that the holiday weekend is over, anglers can get back to fishing with a little bit less competition for available water space.

Air temperatures are slowly trying to get into summer mode, and anglers can finally get out in short sleeves and be comfortable.


Eagle Lake: The opening weekend – Memorial Day Weekend – was well attended. Those launching at Spaulding Tract were breathing big sighs of relief. Last November, the big sand bar just outside the launch area had been dredged and boats weren’t stirring up mud to get in or out of the launch area as was the case last year.

Fishing was good for some, not so good for others. According to Tim Noxon, guide at Eagle, the fish were very well scattered. The daily bag limit at Eagle Lake is just two fish per person and the trick was to keep moving until you found a concentration and then to beat that area to death until you limited.

The only problem is, when people see your net headed into the water, they immediately head your way so the catching area can get a tad crowded.

Tim was able to find a decent bite just south of Pelican Point. Not a hot bite but a take down about every 10-15 minutes with the best bite between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. In that time, they picked up Eagle Lake rainbows up to three-and-a-half pounds.

Other areas that produced for the trollers were just off Black Mountain for those hauling Rainbow Runners, down 6-10 feet. Trolling east and west between Gallatin Beach and Wildcat Point with Sep’s grubs in watermelon, and around Shrimp Island with flies.

Those anchored in and around tulles and through the area of the narrows off the Youth Camp had success, but it could be a long waiting game waiting for that bobber to take a dive.


Local Rivers: Shad remain the top target at the mouth of the American River at Discovery Park, the mouth of Feather, and many access points along the Sacramento River. You have to work hard for what fish you do and can pick up and rising water levels are making it more difficult.


New Melones: Fair for trout and kokanee limits are the rule rather than the exception. For trout, haul a shad or rainbow trout pattern lure, but a threaded crawler always works. The main body of the lake should get you bit, down 20-40 feet. The hotter bite, however are kokanee running up to 16 inches. Work the main body of the lake around the dam and spillway, and around Rose Island, down as far as 55 feet.

Bass anglers are being well rewarded with a good bite by spots in the upper river region. Worms on a split-shot off rocky points are biting well. Spots are running 25 feet down, largemouths 15-30 in the coves. Some top water action is getting started on warming days when the winds aren’t blowing.


Lake Oroville: Great, great bass bite with the lake at least at 70 percent now. Lake is up enough that the water level is now in the grass and bass are in there cruising. One angler caught and released 100 bass in one day of fishing alone, all spots, simply drop shotting a Robo Worm. A couple of anglers say that’s all you need is a Robo Worm to be successful. Just have various “flavors” along.


Folsom Lake: Lots and lots of bass action. It just might take a longer run to get into a simply red hot bite. One angler, catching and release 30 fish in a day’s outing, reports largemouth hard to come by but lots of smallies and spots. Hard-bottomed areas and off-points were the key, drop-shotting in waters up to 20 feet deep. Another angler worked the South Fork from the bend to the Salmon Falls Bridge to whack and stack a lot of bass, reporting he got the larger bites off white chatterbaits and rip baits.


Lake Camanche: Trout continue to be planted but so long as the weather continues its warming trend, the plants will end for the spring, not to resume until this winter-spring again. For now, however, the trolling can be good. With warming weather and a bright sun, however, lead core and downriggers are just about a prerequisite. Find them on your scope and try to get just over the top of them. Numerous lures will work as will a threaded crawler behind blades or a dodger. The South Shore Pond is still producing well, too.

Some bass, surprisingly, are still in spawning mode with the late winter-like spring weather. You can find some bass in as little as five feet or as much as 20 feet of water. Senko’s and jigs are both working wel, or throw cranks off tapered points.


Any questions, comments or concerns, contact George at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM.