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Northern CA Freshwater

Berryessa: North coast lakes still providing quality fishing despite high temps

By BILLY DRIESSEN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 01, 2019

BERRYESSA — Kokanee action at Lake Berryessa is still on fire for most anglers and with the triple digit temperatures it offers a great way to beat the heat, and Black Butte Reservoir is dropping, but the bass are still biting.

MAIN LAKE KOKE — Von Edmonds caught this big kokanee at Lake Berryessa using an RMT dodger, Uncle Larry’s spinner, Pautkze Firecorn and an Atlas Mike’s combo fishing 70 feet deep on the main lake with Captain Troy of T-Roy’s Guide Service.

“Lake Berryessa fished really well for us this past week,” said Troy Barr of T-Roy’s Guide Service. “The salmon continue to push into cooler temperatures as the surface temperatures rise above the 80 degree range by mid-day. The fish are really utilizing structure on the bottom of the lake so most of the fish we are getting to bite have been in the 100 feet of water range while we are fishing between 70 and 90 feet in the water column. Early in the morning we are getting fish shallower but once that sun gets up and hits the water you will want to stagger your depths so you can locate how deep the fish have pushed into the thermocline. Our top producing baits are still the 5.5 RMT dodgers, Apex spoons, and Uncle Larry’s spinners tipped with Pautzke’s Fire Corn and Atlas Mikes scents,” Barr said.

Over at Black Butte Reservoir, “The water level is still dropping although the bass are still biting,” said Leo Driessen of Driessen’s Guide Service. “The heat wave has been brutal on this part of the I-5 corridor and the surface temperature on the lake is still on the rise. When the water temperature gets hot like this the bass will utilize the creek channel at the southern end of the lake, which is still depositing cooler water from the Stoney Gorge dam. Early in the morning you can get on a decent topwater bite with a buzzbait or a popper, as the water continues to drop more hyacinth plants are reaching the surface, so a killer bait is a popping frog.”

He said that once the sun gets high in the sky the bass get spooky and retreat into the thick willow brush where anglers have to work harder pitching a weedless punch rig, Creature Bait or a jig. “Letting that bait slow fall through the brush is a great way to put fish in the boat in hotter, tougher conditions,” Driessen said.

LURE LUNKER — Sean Serrano of Santa Rosa caught this 33-inch channel catfish while trolling a Thomas Buoyant spoon by the Big Island at Lake Berryessa on July 1. Channel catfish are the one whiskerfish species that will aggressively attack lures, especially during the spawn.

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