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Trout moving to deeper water; Kokes are top target

For The Union Democrat 

Bank fishing for trout at New Melones Reservoir has slowed as the fish move out to deeper water, giving the boaters more opportunities.

The main target now is the kokanee salmon, which average 12 inches with an occasional larger one turning up. Limits have been the rule for most anglers getting out.

Local guide Danny Layne reported from the lake on Wednesday when limits were caught by Al and Ann Brocchini, of Arnold. Lures of choice were kokanee bugs, Glitterbug Hootchies, and Uncle Larry’s spinners, behind Vance’s dodgers and tipped with garlic scented corn.

A few rainbows were found at the same depths, 25-to-45 feet.

Layne tried Lake McClure on Thursday with Ralph and Eva Murphy, of Copperopolis, and they were treated to a mixed bag of rainbows, kokanee, and king salmon.

The rainbows, 14-to-16 inches, were found around 30 feet deep, 14-inch long kokes were at 40 feet, and the kings at 85 feet. 

Big Fish honors went to Eva Murphy with a 2.5-pound king salmon.


Recently at Melones, David Provost, of Riverbank, was bass fishing with friends and had caught and released around 20 fish. Bass are released by “lipping” as they have no sharp teeth in that area. On one catch, Provost reached down to lip a fish that turned out to be a brown trout. “Ouch,” browns have very sharp teeth.


I had the pleasure of going out on New Melones on Friday with local guide Gary Burns, along with Dave Roberts.

The main target was the feisty and tasty kokanee, which have become a popular fish in many California lakes. We had pretty good action in the north end of the lake at depths between 25 and 45 feet, boating seven or eight kokes of around 12 inches and several were released. But the highlight was a koke going 14 3/4 inches, large for this early in the year.

Another highlight of the trip was when things were slow, Roberts would start telling a joke or a story and a fish would hit before he could finish. It is a real pleasure to be out in a large boat with four downriggers and it takes a while for me to get back to “reality” in my 14-foot boat with hand-crank downriggers. I have had the same experience after being out with Layne.


Stream trout season will open the last Saturday in April and I will have more next week on planting schedules. Meanwhile, Pinecrest Lake has risen to the point where boat launching is possible.

The water level at Beardsley Lake is still below the launch ramp, which will soon be closed as construction of an extended ramp gets under way. The road will be open, with some delays, and bank anglers should still have access.


The 49er Trap League at Angels Gun Club has completed week six and the leaders are as follows—Division 1: Viagra Vigilantes, 1,404 targets; Div. 2: BCM of Sonora, 1,252 targets; Div. 3: Sugarpine, 1,220 targets; Div. 4: Martin Realty, 1,169 targets; Div. 5: California Electric, 1,151; Div. 6: Sick Pups, 1,065 targets.


The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)  will hold their annual banquet at the Sonora Elks Lodge on April 27. Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner follows at 7. For more information, call 532-2917.

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