Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition 3812 May 24- June 7 2019 - Page 18
May 24 - June 7, 2019
continued from page 1
the water look awful. Productive patches
of plankton rich water look greasy and
stagnant and are dotted with leaves, twigs,
pine needles and all manner of debris.
When you slide into such a greasy
stretch, look into the water and you’ll see
a writhing soup as hundreds of thousands,
indeed millions of tiny organisms
squirming, pulsing and circling. In areas
where the organisms are particularly dense
they form reddish orange spiral ropes that
twist through the water like the lazy smoke
of a damp wood fire spirals when disturbed
by a gentle breeze.
When you’re in the plankton a glance
at the sonar unit shows that the organisms
aren’t restricted to the surface. Big masses
of them reach nearly to bottom and look a
lot like dense weeds on the sonar screen.
Fish of all sizes, hold around and within
the masses. I’ve even graphed sturgeon
cruising the bottom beneath the masses of
Since the masses of shrimp tend to cloud
the already nutrient dense water even more,
Trout ~ Kokanee ~ Salmon ~
you’ll want to probe the “plankton” with
bright colored spoons and plugs trolled
Since the trout are feeding on the shrimp
rather than baitfish, you’re not trying to
match the hatch. Instead you’re trying to
catch the eye of the trout with something
fast and brightly colored, triggering a
It’s amazing how the presence of the
shrimp draw fish from far and wide. This
is particularly true for the lake’s rainbows
which seem to really love the shrimp. I’ve
routinely caught rainbows feeding on the
daphnia that weigh from 3 to 4.5 pounds.
When you bring these big trout into the
boat, their mouths and throats will often be
filled with globs of Cream Of Wheat like
shrimp. If the shrimp action has been going
on for a while the trout will have incredible
In a typical year, Shasta’s “plankton”
action extends to early July when rising
surface temperatures cause the shrimp to
retreat into deep water. When this happens
the trout that had been concen-
trated around the shrimp scatter
and turn their attention to dining
French Meadows Reservoir: ‘Bows
And Browns Near The Sierra Crest
French Meadows Reservoir is situated
in a heavily timbered granite valley at
5,200 feet near the headwaters of the
Middle Fork of the American River. The
Sierra Nevada crest is a scant 9 miles
The lake is fairly large boasting 1,900
surface acres and more than 8 miles
of shoreline when at full capacity. The
nearest town to French Meadows is the
hamlet of Foresthill, which sits east
French Meadows has a strong popula-
tion of wild brown trout that range up to
and beyond 6 pounds. The lake is stocked
with rainbows every spring and summer
by the DFW. Most of these fish don’t
survive, but those that do often times turn
up in the catch one or more years later
as handsome 12 to 22 inch square tailed
The quality of a trout fishery is dictated
in large part by the quality of forage
it provides. Look beneath the surface
of a great trout fishery and you’ll find
a diverse and plentiful prey base.
240 different size/
4 All Natural
82 YEARS of Catching
TROUT & KOKANEE
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French Meadows is a great high Sierra trout fishing destination that produces
browns and rainbows for both bank anglers and boaters!
Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff.
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Don Pedro Reservoir is a powerhouse rainbow
trout fishery located in the California’s
motherlode region. Shad imitating spoons are
the ticket for rainbows, but don’t overlook the
fact that there are kings and kokanee on the
Photo courtesy of GOLD COUNTRY
Minnows, crawfish, sculpins, juvenile trout,
caddis flies and other invertebrates fuel
French Meadows’ trout fishery. Minnows
represent the lake’s primary forage, with
crawfish running a strong second. Caddis
hatches occur on most evenings from summer
through early fall. On windless evenings, the
hatching caddis can provide fly anglers with
good surface action.
French Meadows trout aren’t picky in terms
of what they will strike. It’s one of those
lakes where basic trolling and bait fishing
tactics consistently produce quality fish.
Lake Don Pedro: The Central State’s
Most Exciting Rainbow Fishing
Without a DICK NITE...
You’re Not Fishin’ Right!
VOL.38 • ISS. 12
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The excellent rainbow trout fishing at
Lake Don Pedro, located on the Tuolumne
River east of Modesto in the Sierra Nevada
foothills, is one of the state’s best kept
Indeed, Don Pedro is one of the best overall
fisheries in the state, featuring outstanding
fishing for rainbow trout, king salmon,
kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, as well as an
occasional brown trout.
When Don Pedro’s kings and kokanee are
biting the outstanding rainbow fishing that it
offers takes a back seat, yet in my opinion,
Don Pedro is second only to Shasta in terms
of the numbers of rainbows it holds and their
willingness to strike.
I recall one time a few years back while
fishing a kokanee tournament at the lake
when the rainbow bite was so intense that we
had to abandon several coves simply because
there were so many feeding rainbows in
attendance that we couldn’t get our lures
down to the deep swimming kokanee!
The average rainbow at Don Pedro runs
about 14 inches and fish beyond 20 inches
and 3 pounds show up consistently. Shad are
the primary forage in the lake and this fact
should be reflected in your lure selection.
Early and late in the day during summer,
fast trolling with spoons such as Speedy
Shiners and plugs like Rapalas works well.
When the sun is at its apex it’s time to slow
down and drop down, typically into the 40 to
60 foot range.
Wiggle Hoochies and Apex Lures work
well when trolled deep at 1 to 1.5 mph. These
lures do a good job of imitating a wounded
shad. For the ultimate in match the hatch
effectiveness many anglers “roll” shad at Don
Rolling shad simply refers to slow trolling
frozen threadfin shad rigged on a special
sliding snell that causes the minnow to roll
seductively when drawn through the water.
When the rainbows play hard to get and
refuse shad imitations a threaded worm either
teamed with a flasher or small dodger is an
offering that seldom fails at Don Pedro.