Grab the sunscreen as summer is here

By: George deVilbiss
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Some were thinking we might not have a summer this year. There have been just three years in recorded history when 100-degree temperatures were never attained, but 2010 won’t go in that record book. Summer heat has definitely set in and that means adjusting your fishing habits for both comfort and the best chances of putting fish in the cooler. Depending what elevation you go to in the mountains along with coastal regions, the nights and early mornings can be a tad chilly. Midday, while certainly not as warm as the valley floor, the areas tend to still get quite warm. The high country, this past week, was hit with some pretty severe summer thunderstorms, storms that produced a lot of lightning, torrential rains and, in some areas, very strong winds. No matter where you are, be prepared for all eventualities. Bay Area: When the tides are slower, the halibut fishing is well worth the trip. While most of the California halibut tend to run 8-10 pounds, there’s always one caught in the low 20s. All spots in the bay are producing. Just watch the tides closely. If it’s a fast, ripping tide, halibut fishing won’t be all that great but stripers might be, though the red-hot bite hasn’t turned on yet. Offshore Salmon: If it’s a boat ride you want, then go. Salmon fishing has been great. It’s just the catching that’s not good. The action is pretty spotty up and down the coast. Rock cod catching in all the ports have been producing well and having a limit of bottom fish makes for outstanding table fare. Eagle Lake: It’s that time of year to put the trolling gear away and dig out the still fishing equipment. Those hanging a crawler under a bobber are doing well. Well, some are. You need to fire up the boat motor while it’s pretty much dark and be at the fishing area at the crack of dawn. The bite starts early and is pretty much over by 8 a.m. Shrimp Island has been one of the best producing areas, but if there are too many boats in the area, then the narrows off the Youth Camp and Wildcat Point should provide you with action, too. Trollers are getting some fish but why burn the gas when there’s better action by anchoring. French Meadows Reservoir: They’re working on the dam but it’s not affecting the fishing or boating. While trolling should get you bit, those fishing from shore are hammering rainbows. There are a lot of tree stumps and snags in the water off the French Meadows Campground but by either boat ramps, the upper end where the fresh water enters the lake, and coves, reachable by the hiking trail that will take you to the hike-in Poppy Campground, are all good areas to fish. I’ve done extremely well with salmon eggs here. At nearby Hell Hole Reservoir, a longer drive to get to but the fishing is also outstanding for kokanee, German browns and ‘bows along with an occasional lake trout. Lake Pardee: They’re still regularly, weekly planting trout but with the current summer heat, the trout aren’t staying very long in the Rec Area Cove. If you’re there the day they plant, you can do some good catching. But it’s that time of year when trolling in the main body of the lake, down by the dam or up in the river that the better fishing is found. New Hogan: This is one lake that has a tremendously large striper population and this is the time of year, while they’re chasing schools of shad, you’ll see large boils of fish on the surface as they feed. This lake can be tough fishing during the day, especially on the weekends with the heavy recreational boating traffic, but early mornings, late afternoons and night times all produce well. Landlocked striper limits, by the way, is five fish per day with no size limit, and some people have been putting full limits in the cooler. There are some big fish in the lake, but the average will only be 5-6 pounders. Cut bait from shore, if you are without a boat, has worked. Drifting cut anchovy by boat has worked well or trolling with something like a large, saltwater Rat-L-Trap. Catfishing in the shallows at night is a hot fishery. Not only will you string up the standard brown bullhead catfish but some good channel cats as well. Frenchman: Snows are gone and the lake is only half full. Fish are going deeper with the warming weather, meaning downrigger time to hit the 30-40 foot depths. A threaded crawler behind flashers should get you bit on rainbows up to 20 inches. Camp Far West: Fishing is pretty much out of the question with all the recreational boating traffic unless you want to fish at the crack of dawn or the last hour of light on into the dark of night. There is a striper population still in the lake, but not a major presence. We caught an 11-pounder a few years ago while fishing for crappie. Recently, a 19-pounder was checked in, so there are still a few roaming the lake’s waters. Best right now, though, will be the catfishing. Bullards Bar: While the lake is just about tip-top full, there is a decent kokanee bite, a fishery that was all but non-existent the past two or three years. The good news is the kokes aren’t that deep, either, only down 20-30 feet. The old standby, Wedding Rings, should get you bit on these little salmon running up to a foot long. Just tip your hook with a couple kernels of shoepeg, white corn. It does make all the difference in the world. Any questions, comments or concerns, contact George at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM.