By LEN ACKERMAN
Some anglers are referring to the kokanee salmon bite at New Melones as “exceptional” and some go as far as calling it “red hot.” Even the increasing summer heat is not slowing it down, other than they will go a little deeper.
As reported by local guide Danny Layne, the kokes are found in many areas of the lake, from the Stevenot Bridge to Bear Cove on the South end. Lures of choice have been Glitterbug Hootchies in orange or pink and Uncle Larry’s spinners in patterns such as “Pink Tiger” and “Mad Irishman” tipped with scented shoepeg corn. Last week, scents that worked well were garlic, vanilla, and kokanee special.
Most fish are found from 35-to-50 feet and early morning is the time to get out as the surface temperature of the lake is up to 80 degrees.
Melanie Lewis, of Glory Hole Sports, reports that the lake is now only eight feet from full capacity. Out last week for early limits were locals Wayne DeGennaro, Dave Urquhart, and Cas Munoz who had their fish by 10 a.m. On Wednesday, Bob Post, of Sugar Pine, along with his four-legged fishing partner, “Rachel,” had his five fish by 7:15 a.m. Rachel sometimes gives him a look as if to say, “Why don’t you get me a fishing license?”
Also out Wednesday were Stan Blanchard and Dave Sefton, of Sonora, who switched to Lake Don Pedro and found fewer, but larger kokanee, boating three in the 17-inch range and two 16-inchers.
Night fishing is becoming more popular as we get deeper into the summer heat. Submersible lights work well for catfish, trout, and crappie. Crappie are found close to submerged trees and a couple of areas of note are Bear Cove and Coyote Creek.
Live minnows or crappie jigs are the best enticers. For the catfish, gobs of worms, mackerel, or chicken livers work well.
Big Fish contest winner at Glory Hole Sports last week was Ralph Dawson, of Fairfield, who boated a 6-pound, 13-ounce brown trout while trolling a Rapala lure in Angel’s Cove.
The big Project Kokanee Derby at Melones takes place tomorrow and should draw over 100 anglers hoping to get into the money. I will have the results next week.
Along Highway 108, the middle and South forks Stanislaus are still running high but fishable, mainly with bait or lures. For information from Kennedy Meadows call 965-3900 and for South Fork information call the Strawberry store at 965-3597. They also have reports from Beardsley Lake from time to time.
Pinecrest Lake continues to draw the most anglers and weekly trout plants are being made. The July 4 weekend was crowded and many fish were caught. Trollers have the most success with the “old reliable” flasher/worm combo and shore anglers go with Power Baits and salmon eggs. The inlet area is a popular spot. For current information on boat rentals and fishing, call the marina at 965-3333.