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Kokanee on the bite early at New Melones

For The Union Democrat

The kokanee at New Melones Reservoir are on the bite, a bit earlier than usual, and they run around 11-to-12 inches, with an occassional larger one turning up.

Even though small, they make for some tasty filets. They are found throughout the main lake, spillway and on up to Coyote Creek, above the 49 bridge. They seem to prefer lures, such as Uncle Larry’s spinners, Sockeye Slammers and Glitterbug Hoochies in pink or red and, of course, tipped with scented corn.

The kokes seem to be at depths from 30-to-45 feet and rainbows may turn up in the same area. The rainbows seem to prefer a lure tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. 

Local guide Gary Burns had a great outing last week at Melones for big brown trout. Clients Jeff and Marshall Wilson had multiple hookups on big browns with the largest going 9 pounds, 3 ounces.

Since brown trout are no longer recognized in the Big Fish contest at Glory Hole Sports, the winner last week was Darwin Parish of Murphys with a 3-pound, 9-ounce rainbow.

The browns are not recognized since they are no longer being planted in California and it’s recommended that brown trout be released to enhance natural spawning.


Another big bass turned up at Melones for local angler Dennis Lee when he caught and released a 10-pound, 8-ounce largemouth that hit a swim bait.


Local guide Danny Layne concurs with the good bite for the kokanee, taking clients out for limits last week. This writer was out with Chuck Hewitt, of Sonora, on Wednesday and we had multiple hookups, losing a few and releasing several, keeping six for the dinner table.

Layne also reports on Don Pedro where rainbows are the dominant fish and may be found from the surface-to-35 feet using ExCel spoons, Apex and Uncle Larry’s spinners tipped with a piece of nightcrawler.


Hunters beware, the state Legislature is introducing Assembly Bill 711, authored by Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) to ban the use of lead in all hunting ammo in California, including bird shot used for Upland Game Bird hunting.

The bill reportedly has the backing of several key members of the Legislature. They claim there are many alternatives now available to substitute for lead that are affordable.

Those alternatives, I have found, cost twice as much as lead ammo. A few of the anti-hunting groups behind this bill are The Humane Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the Audubon Society. Contact your representatives with more questions about AB 711.

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