Northern CA Freshwater

Lake Berryessa goes 4 feet over the Glory Hole

By BILLY DRIESSEN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Mar 06, 2019

WINTERS — It has been over 4 years since the locals of Lake Berryessa have seen the famed Glory Hole spilling over at its current level and with more weather on the way heading into the spring, anglers are looking forward to the bass fishing that is to come.

LAKE BERRYESSA HAS reached 4 feet over full capacity and is spilling heavily into the “Glory Hole” down by the dam. WON PHOTO BY BILL DRIESSEN

“Everyone is waiting in suspense for the fishing to bust wide open,” said tournament fisherman John Haman. “Conditions around the lake really vary right now; you can find clean water, dirty water and very dirty water, depending on which side of the lake you head to. The north end of the lake is really dirty, especially where the creeks are running in. As you get past big island to the southern end of the lake it cleans up pretty good towards the Glory Hole and the narrows. Fortunately the debris isn’t nearly as bad as it could be considering the lake has gone 4 feet overfull and the tree line is currently underwater, it could be much worse.

“There are bigger bass that moved up with the water level, but they aren’t biting,” Haman said. “There were places I found nice big bass sitting in water as shallow as 2 feet, but they wouldn’t bite anything and I really threw the kitchen sink at them. It was a little bit discouraging to spend 4 hours throwing various reaction baits from spinnerbaits to swimbaits at these fish to never get a bite. I switched over to a jig and backed out to 20 feet of water and caught a nice 4 pounder right away. I didn’t get a ton of bites in the same spot though. I could see fish on the graph as deep as 50 feet along with balls of baitfish, so they were really scattered from deep to shallow. The fish that have moved up with the lake level are bigger quality fish that are really trying to get staged for the spawn but they are a little messed up from the fluctuations. Once the water level drops back to the top of the Glory hole and the lake equalizes the fishing is really going to get good.

“It is almost like waiting on a ticking time bomb,” Haman said. “Berryessa is famed for its big bags of bass that at times can rival even Clear Lake for reputation. These big bass will start looking to pack on the pounds for the spawn and will start eating the bigger swimbaits, glidebaits, and Alabama rigs. The muddy water coming in from the creeks will also help the water temperatures to rise a little faster on the sunny days. Clear water does not warm up as fast as muddy water, which is why the last few tournaments at Berry were won at the northern end of the lake in the muddiest waters. The next series of storms are low pressure systems which should put the bass on the bite so long as the conditions around the lake remain stable,” Haman said.

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