10 December 9 , 2022 MAP FEATURE VOL . 41 • ISS . 19
REGON HOUSE – It was looking grim for Ron Fournier of Stockton and his fishing partner , Tony Jaehnichen of Mountain House , on the first day of the NorCal Trout Angler ’ s Challenge ( NTAC ) Tournament of Champions at Collins Lake on Saturday , Nov . 5 . But things changed completely around on Sunday when Fournier caught a 7.99-pound rainbow while trolling with a pink worm on the surface around noon . The fish was the largest fish caught in the two-day tournament , putting Fournier in first place in the adult division . “ It was a hard bite during the tournament ,” said Fournier . “ We didn ’ t get anything on Saturday . But on Sunday we caught three trout , including the winning fish , plus a couple of trout weighing 2-1 / 2 and 1 pounds .” Fournier has been fishing the NTAC for the past three years . He has placed third , fifth and sixth place in other NTAC events , but this was the first time he has ever won first place . “ Not only was it the winning tournament fish , but it was my personal best rainbow trout ,” he noted . Although he caught the fish while trolling , he noted that the largest numbers of fish were caught over the two
Trout fishing at Collins Lake is superb , now that the water temperature has cooled down and big trout plants are going into the reservoir .
Photo by Dan Bacher
Stockton Angler Wins NTAC Championship At Collins Lake With 7.99 Lb . Trout !
Ron Fournier of Stockton won first place in the NorCal Trout Angler ’ s Challenge Tournament of Champions with this 7.99-pound rainbow trout that he landed at Collins Lake on Nov . 6 .
Photo by Dan Bacher
days by anglers fishing PowerBait , worms and other offerings off the bank . The second through ten place winners were ( 2 ) Tom Wolfenberg , 6.58 ; ( 3 ) Jonathan Menteer , 5.95 ; ( 4 ) John Menteer , 5.67 ; ( 5 ) Jason Yang , 3.79 ; ( 6 ) Joey Hill , 3.73 ; ( 7 ) Shaun Hansen , 3.65 ; ( 8 ) Jerry Cabral , 3.40 ; ( 9 ) Frank Whitte , 3.38 ; and ( 10 ) Pao Hang , 3.34 . Conner Hansen of Grass Valley won first place in the youth division of the tournament by catching a 4.95- pound rainbow . His dad , Sean , landed a 3.65-pound lightning trout . They caught both fish while trolling lures . The second through tenth place winners in the youth division were ( 2 ) Joey Hill , Jr ., 1.83 ; ( 3 ) Aleta Peters , 1.49 ; ( 4 ) David Grass , 1.46 ; Caleb Perkins , 1.39 .; ( 6 ) Eva Edson , 1.37 ; ( 7 ) Mikayla Smith , 1.34 ; ( 8 ) Avery Edson , 1.3 ; ( 9 ) Natalia Smith ,
1.17 ; and ( 10 ) Luke Mizerski , 1.11 . 150 anglers participated in the TOC at Collins . “ What an amazing season we experienced during the 2022 NorCal Trout Angler ’ s Challenge , with COVID well in our rear view ,” commented Vince Harris , President / CEO of Angler ’ s Press Outdoors , the organization that created the NTAC . “ We had a great turnout for our events and we ’ re looking forward to the 2023 season .” Cal Kellogg and Wes Ward of fishhuntshoot . com reported solid trout fishing on the lake before and after the TOC . “ We have been putting clients on big rainbows consistently this week ,” said Kellogg . “ With water temperatures in the low 60s , the trout are really starting to come alive . Our most consistent offerings have been grubs and small plastic worms trolled at 1.8-2.5 MPH in the top 15 ’ of the water column .
Big trout have been hitting pink and orange trolling flies in the top 5 ’.” “ The bite has been better as the sun gets overhead , with solid action continuing into the late afternoon . Our biggest fish this week exceeded 12 pounds , with several others in the 6-10-pound range ,” said Kellogg .
Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills northwest of Marysville , Collins Lake features the largest private trout planting program north of Sacramento . 11,000 pounds of trout will be planted this fall , while over 32,000 pounds of trout were already planted in spring 2022 . A total of 4,000 pounds of trout , including trophy lightning trout and rainbows , were planted on October 28 and November 3 prior to the derby . The resort , in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife ( CDFW ), Kokanee Power and the California Inland Fisheries Foundation , Inc . ( CIFFI ), has also sponsored a successful pen-rearing program to enhance the trophy trout fishery at the reservoir . The CDFW puts the trout in the 12 floating pens at a size of 2 / 3 lbs . each November . When they are released in increments between mid-March and the end of April , they range from 2-1 / 4 to 3 pounds . This year the net pens will be filled on November 19 by the CDFW , assisted by lake staff and local volunteers . “ They ’ re beautiful fish with full fins that look much more like native or holdover trout ,” said Lincoln Young , the now retired manager of Collins Lake Resort . “ Since they ’ re already acclimated to the lake ’ s waters , they ’ re brightly colored , their flesh is firmer and they fight harder than recently planted trout .” The CDFW planted brown trout in previous years , but they haven ’ t stocked browns for over a decade .