The Mendocino Beacon
So far, we’ve had a typical Ukiah winter
GREETINGS, my fellow anglers! Many have made a big deal about the wonderful rain we have gotten. I guess “Drama News” sells? For us old time locals, this has been a typical Ukiah winter. Reminds me of the “Good Old Days!” Yup, the local lakes are full. How great is that? If you did know this about me, I’m a water guy. I’m either on the water fishing on our bass boat, in the water swimming in a pool or soaking in a hot tub after a hard day fishing. Really, we are all water people. Did you know that our bodies are made up of 60 percent water. Our lungs 90 percent water. Our blood over 80 percent water. Even our bones are made up of 23 percent water. Fresh rain water is the key to our survival. For sure, we all should be very, very thankful for the rain we have received so far this season. Yippie!
How to get cold water bass to bite- Cold water or muddy fishing conditions are usually tough. To begin with cold water slows the metabolism of bass, thus their required feeding activity is lower than in warmer water. The upside to this is that during late winter the females have to feed more than normal because of the demands for nutrients required by developing eggs. Also, bass are creatures of instinct and you may be able to force a bass to hit a bait just because you placed it in the strike zone and triggered a response.
Putting your lure in the strike zone will be a key factor. At this time of year it will be very small. Thinking about where and how to present your lure is important now. Probably more than at any other time of the year bass will fix to structure in cold water. They’ll also stay there for longer periods of time. This means throw parallel with depth changes, brush lines, or vertically fish this type of structure as well as logs, stumps, and larger trees.
Muddy water conditions added to the cold you now have fish that haven’t been aggressive feeders. Their metabolism is lower and they have lost the ability to even distinguish food by sight. The general rule of thumb, is to fish slow. The best two baits for filling the criteria are an oversized blade on a spinnerbait or a jig-n-pig. The spinnerbait doesn’t have to be heavy, but the blade has to be large and give a constant rotation even at the slowest speeds. The instincts we have of throwing a spinnerbait and cranking it in have to change to crawling it in.
Try fishin’ creeks or depressions, cold water bass will often layer along these contour lines.
If you find fish in the bottom channels use a modified tail spinner such as a Little George with an oversized blade and vertically present it to the school. The vibrations of the blade are of the greatest importance since bass in muddy water are more dependent on vibrations.
Russian River — They’re here! There have been multiple reports of steelhead being caught on the Russian River. Steelies have been hooked from the Ukiah Valley south to the Dry Creek area. The word is that the Eel River has also been seeing some nice steelhead. Bouncing roe, or drifting a fluorescent colored worm with a bobber, seems to be what is successful so far. The fishin’ is good and will get great as the water clears more.
Clear Lake — Clear Lake has risen about 7 feet! Hurray! With that, the fishin’ has gotten a wee bit better, but it is still really tough. The water temps. are ranging from 47 — 49 degrees. Looks like it’s just us diehard locals fishin’ Clear Lake right now. Can’t say that there are any real “go to” baits right now. Try drop-shottin’, yo-yoing a lipless crankbait, or dead stickin’ a jerk bait. Also, some bass have been caught on live bait. All in all, it’s nothin’ to write home about. Once we put a couple weeks together the fishin’ will start to pick up some.
Blue Lakes — The sunny weather has gotten some fishermen back on or around the upper Blue Lake. With the lake getting stocked last week, the trout fishin’ from the shore has picked up some. There are reports of a couple 2 — 2 1/2 pounders being caught. Also, the same success can be said for those who are on the water trolling. The fish are deep, 20 to 30 feet. Also have been told that a few bass have been picked up on a white spinnerbait at the Narrows area.
Lake Pillsbury — Saved the best for last. Our beautiful lake up on the mountain is FULL! I have been told that is not anyone fishing the lake. Pick a sunny day and you will have the lake all to your self.
You know, “they” say that 5% of the fishermen catch most of the fish. So, the odds are on your side. Be safe. Take it slow and easy going up the road and you will just fine. So give beautiful Lake Pillsbury a try.
*Remember, a good day winter fishin’ could be two or three fish. A good day in the summer could be ten to fourty. It’s all perspective, and always good being on the water.
Remember to keep it reel. Thanks, Don www.4reelfishin.com