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Northern CA Freshwater

New Melones Reservoir rainbows few but heft

By DAVE HURLEY/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 07, 2017

ANGELS CAMP — The big rainbow trout were back on the bite this week after a week of slower action, and although the bite isn’t hot or heavy, the quality of the rainbows more than makes up for the numbers.

Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was on the lake twice this week, and he said, “It isn’t fast and furious, but when you get bit within the first 100 yards of setting out your gear, it was definitely better than last week. We put in 8 rainbows to 4 pounds on Tuesday, and these are all good-looking fish to 4.12 pounds. We also lost another 4 trout, and it is easy to lose these big ones. We had a stretch of 1.5 hours of slow fishing in the early morning on Thursday, but as we were marking bait and fish, we stuck with it. We ended up with 7 fish amd found our best action at depths from 47 to 75 feet in the main lake with my custom spoons, and although I am marking fish from 80 to 90 feet, we haven’t been able to get them to go.”

John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “There is an absolute abundance of small baitfish, shad, bluegill, sunfish, crappie and baby bass. Once hatched, the small fish had plenty of cover to hide from predators, but now they’ve moving because of lowering water levels, so the bass and larger predator fish are gorging themselves. Many of the baitfish are very small and downsizing to a 2-inch worm has been a good option.

Catfishing continues to be good with cut baits, jumbo minnows, or nightcrawlers from the banks in the evenings.

The lake has dropped 3 feet to 1056.03 feet in elevation and 85 percent.

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