By Len Ackerman
For The Union Democrat
As the summer approaches, local area fishing begins to get into high gear. Area lakes such as Don Pedro, New Melones, New Hogan, Beardsley, and Cherry Lakes are beginning to bring in the summer anglers.
At New Melones, the water level continues to drop as outflows exceed inflows and the lake dropped another 3 feet last week.
As the water temperatures continue to rise, the trout and kokanee will move deeper to find cooler water.
The best bite has been early mornings and, as the sun gets higher, the fish will normally go deeper where downriggers come into play.
Trolling a Wedding Ring lure near the dam paid off for Michi Marshall, of Jackson, as she boated a 4-pound, 8-ounce brown trout to win the Big Fish Trout Division at Glory Hole Sports.
On the catfish scene, Chris Limas, known for outsmarting the big cats, fished last week with a group of family members and friends and they caught 16 catfish, keeping eight and releasing eight.
The biggest, at 11-pounds, 1-ounce, won him the Big Catfish contest at Glory Hole Sports.
Last week, local guide Dany Layne had Twain Harte resident Allen Wallace, along with a son and daughter-in-law of Palmdale, out on Melones and they took two limits of kokanee, mixed with a few rainbows. The kokes were found from 25-to-60 feet, as well as the rainbows, at the higher levels.
Lures of choice were Uncle Larry’s spinners, Glitterbug Hootchies, and Kokanee Killers tipped with scented corn and trolled behind a dodger.
At Lake Don Pedro, the bite continues good for kokanee, trout, and king salmon, with the kokes and rainbows anywhere from 30-to-60 feet and the kings from 60-to-below-100 feet. Bob Post, of Sugar Pine, took a limit of kokes there last week as well as releasing several.
At Pinecrest, they are bracing for the summer vacationers, and weekly trout plants will take place through the summer. Shore anglers use Power Baits and salmon eggs while trollers do best with flasher/worm combos. Streams along Highway 108 and from Strawberry down to Frazier Flat have dropped considerably and the “fly guys” are getting into the act, using Wooly Buggers, Beadhead nympths, Black ants, and Mosquito patterns.
In the Ebbetts Pass area, all major lakes are open, including Mosquito Lakes, Alpine, Spicer, and White Pines. Area streams such as North Fork Stanislaus and Beaver Creek are also dropping into fly fishing conditions.
This writer got into Beardsley Lake again on Wednesday and, upon arriving at the launch ramp, found the floating dock had not been pulled up and was about 30 feet out from the ramp.
Launching was not a big problem but the thought of coming back to load on the trailer with a wind blowing and no dock was of concern. I ended up the morning with a limit of rainbows before the 11 a.m. wind came up and, much to my delight and other boaters on the lake, Forest Service authorities had come down and pulled the dock up to the proper level.
Recently, there has been some concern among anglers and fishing guides about the growth rates of various species of fish in our local lakes.
One theory is that for kokanee salmon, the numbers of fish being planted (such as at New Melones where 80,000-to-100,000 fingerlings have been planted annually) may be exceeding the available food supply.
Another example might be Beardsley Lake where approximately 20,000-to-25,000 brown trout have been planted annually for over 10 years and, yet, the average size to date, rarely exceeds 14 inches.
The key is probably a lack of food supply and, with the planting of rainbows annually, that provides competition over the available food supply. The above is in theory only and has not been confirmed scientifically.
A recent story recently came out of Pyramid Lake in Nevada where a 31-inch Lahontan Cuttthroat trout was caught by a fly angler (and later released) and the fish had a tag which was attached when it was released by fish and game agencies.
The tag showed that that fish was released five years ago at the size of 7- inches. That is an example of rapid growth, most likely due to an abundant food supply, including other smaler fish.
A reminder of the upcoming Friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Banquet coming up at the Sonora Elk’s Club on June 9.
For more information contact Barry Blaylock at 209-586-8995.
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties