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Water levels continue to drop at New Melones


For The Union Democrat


Cas Munoz, a retired teacher and coach at Summerville High, has been missing out on much of the spring and summer fishing this year, due to recovery and therapy following knee replacement surgery. 

Munoz, founder and longtime member of the infamous “Twain Harte Connection,” a group of local area anglers — some related, some just friends — who frequently fish together and enjoy outings on local area lakes and the Sacramento River Delta. 

Munoz and I had an interesting and unforgettable outing several years ago with Tom Martin. 

Martin, former owner of the Outpost Mini-mart near Soulsbyville, had just completed work on a custom pontoon boat, equipped with snap on curtains and even a walk-in restroom. Martin invited Munoz and I on an outing at New Melones, and we fished upriver above the Parrot’s Ferry Bridge. After boating a few nice rainbows by noon, we headed back to Tuttletown where we had launched. 

As we approached the main lake near Glory Hole Marina, a strong south wind blew in, creating white caps and swells. Martin said, “We’ll zip up the curtains to keep the spray out and be OK.”  

As we continued south, the wind increased and waves began breaking over the bow. About halfway to Tuttletown, we began taking on water. Munoz and I began bailing water, while Martin fought to keep the boat straight. 

Realizing this was becoming serious, Martin pulled into a cove prior to the launch ramp, and Munoz and I, standing in knee-deep water with our tackle boxes floating around us, continued to bail out gallons of water. After bailing as much as possible, Munoz and I finally exited the boat. Glad to be on dry land, we walked back to the launch ramp. 

A highlight of our trip was, as we were bailing and bouncing over the waves, one of us commented, “By the way Tom, where are the life preservers?” Tom and Joanne Martin have since moved to Stevensville, Montana. I’m sure Tom would remember that trip.

Meanwhile, at New Melones, the water level continues to drop and is now at 967 feet above sea level. It was that low in 2010 and then in 2011 was back to almost full. Mother Nature holds the key. 

“Not to worry” said Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sports. “When it comes to boat launching there are enough launch levels available to allow launching this year and even another dry year or two. It must be remembered that Melones is a reservoir, built for storage and usage.” 

Trout fishing at Melones is more productive at night, using submersible lights, not to mention much cooler. The Big Fish winner at Glory Hole Sports last week was Rich Kowski of Angel’s Camp with a 3 pound., 7 ounce rainbow caught while night fishing. 

Catfish Division winner was Jeff Henry, also of Angel’s Camp with an 8-pound, 10-ounce cat.  

The Sacramento River salmon season opened July 16 and anglers are hoping for a good fall run off the Kings River. One concern is lower water flows and higher water temperarures.

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