Denis Peirce: Full moon brings in the bass
The weather system that came in yesterday is cooling down our water temperatures. But the unseasonably warm waters of 10 days ago began cooling with the dry, low pressure front that came through late last week.
Ed Everhart fished the “Future Pro Bass Tournament” on Lake Berryessa on Saturday with his son, Cole. The water temp was 56 degrees, down 5 degrees from the previous weekend. They finished a respectable 24th in a field of 139 teams, with a five-fish limit of 11.95 pounds.
It took 22 pounds to win. The winning team had one fish of 13.89 pounds to put it 5 pounds above second place. All the top 5 teams had one big fish that separated them from the rest of the field.
The current pattern at Berryessa is typical of many bass waters in the north state. Bass tend to spawn with a full moon once water temps reach the low 60s. The speculation 10 days ago was that a major spawn would come on with the full moon April 2. The low pressure fronts have reversed the warming trend and hopefully will extend the prime pre-spawn bite.
Ed and Cole targeted the edge of spawning flats. They had located a large shallow flat that was bordered by a deep creek channel. They correctly assumed that the bass would be in deeper water adjacent to good spawning grounds. Throughout the morning hours, the bass responded to top water “Spooks” and “Buzz Baits” fished parallel to the drop off. They switched to soft plastics such as “flukes” on the flats during the midday.
Ed expects the daily pattern of fish moving from the depths onto the flats to continue until the water warms into the low 60s on a consistent basis.
From the east side of Nevada County, I received my first good report from Stampede Reservoir. John Minus, longtime Truckee resident, fished Stampede on Saturday. He did very well, catching mackinaw at the 90-to-100 foot depth close to the island. All of his fish were from 20 up to a maximum of 28 inches. The best lure was a UV Apex trolled off a down rigger.
John describes the action as excellent with the mackinaw aggressively hitting minnow imitating lures. A friend of his was also on the water Saturday, getting similar results in 40 to 50 feet of water on a Krocadile spoon.
John’s primary goal was to land his first kokanee of the season. He ran a long line kokanee rod all day with nothing to show for it. Based on his electronics, the mackinaw were close to small fish that he presumed were small kokanee, which will be mature in the 2008 season. John also noted that there was a temperature gradient of water temps from the low 40s near the Little Truckee River inlet to the mid 40s near the dam. The fishing was markedly better in the marginally warmer water. John did not get on the water until midmorning and he commented “there was not much action early in the day.”
Over the weekend there was little or no snow at the lake elevation. The only problem was ice on the ramp from boats being launched early in the A.M. This melted off by midmorning. As of Monday afternoon it was raining hard in Truckee with falling air temperatures. Snow is predicted, but it should be melting off rapidly in the following days.
Other anglers fishing for rainbows and browns on Stampede over the weekend reported best results fishing shallow water close to shore. The mackinaw are out in deep water with the trout much closer to the bank. A side planer is a good bet for getting a lure shallow with out spooking trout with a boat motor.
Fishing at Pyramid Lake in Nevada is picking up. My sources report the spawning channel is now flowing water into the lake. This is the signal for the increase of fish cruising both the north and south sides of the “Nets.” The angling has been good there as well as other locations on the west side of the lake. Minnow imitating flies and lures have been the best bets during the cold weather months. They still take their share of trout.
In the recent past, fishing with nymph flies hung below floats, has been taking an increasing percentage of fish. Currently you should go prepared to fish either way. Effective nymphs have included Copper Johns, Zebra Midges, Blood Midges and Pheasant Tails. Effective sizes range from #10 down to #16.
I recommend the larger sizes based on the size of the trout that inhabit the lake. With the warmer weather the insect activity is increasing and the trout are feeding on them close to shore.
Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union and is host of “The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report,” which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. He may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
If conditions permit, the following lakes, reservoirs and ponds, listed by county, will be restocked with catchable-size trout from Department of Fish and Game hatcheries.
Week of March 19
Amador County – Amador Lake, Pardee Reservoir
San Joaquin County – Camanche Reservoir
Week of April 2
Lake County – Upper Blue Lake, Lake Pillsbury
Week of April 16
Lake County – Upper Blue Lake
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