Fish Species

Pics and Fishing Techniques!

Rainbow Trout Trolling for Rainbow Trout Dodger / Flasher - Yes, bright, flashy, silver Depth - 15 ft - 25 ft Location - 15 ft to 100 ft off the shoreline Lure - Needlefish, Spoons, Kastmaster, Apex Hook Tipped With - Worm or MinnowScent - Trophy Trout Scent or None Trolling for Rainbow Trout can be quite fun. They love just about everything you can throw at them, but my favorite go to setup is a small silver dodger, or small blades, in varying patterns with a matched up lure with some shine. Kastmaster’s, needlefish, wedding ring’s tipped with a minnow or a worm, spoons, small apex, small stickbaits that are silver or rainbow trout pattern, small flatfish. Sometimes I’ll use scent added to the lure, and sometimes not. It’s important to try something, and if it works that day, to stick with it. If it doesn’t work, or stops working, try different lures, different dodgers, different blades. Check the motion of your setup throughout the day right next to the boat to make sure it’s moving right. A snag, or a big fish, can really change the way a lure moves, which will affect whether you get bit or not. As for depths, I like to fish on top, or in the top 15 feet of water in the morning, and slowly drop down to 25 feet as the day warms up.. Try to stay about 15 ft to 100 ft off the shoreline. Keep your eyes on the fish finder to find the depths that they are swimming at and adjust accordingly. Troll in a long S pattern, which changes the depth and speed of the lure as you troll and helps you find the zone that they are hanging in. Never troll straight just waiting, it won’t work well. You may catch a fish here and there, but by trolling in a long S pattern, it changes things up and attracts more strike’s! Brown Trout Trolling for Brown Trout Dodger / Flasher - None Depth - 5 ft - 15 ft Location - 5 ft to 40 ft off the shoreline Lure - Imitation Minnow Stickbaits Hook Tipped With - Nothing Scent - None Big Brown Trout are sought after as a trophy. They are looking to get in on the 10 Pound Brown Club, which is a prized catch. These 10+ pounders are the breeding stock, so please take a picture and release the fish. Big Brown’s are aggressive fish and typically hit a lure out of aggression or to devour it, they hit hard! Brown’s are mostly targeted by trolling as close to the shoreline around big underwater boulders. No flashers or dodgers are needed, they are best fished for by using a medium to large stickbait tied on with a Rapala knot to allow more action of the lure, and no hardware or swivels. The best patterns for me are rainbow trout, plain silver, brown trout, in various sizes of medium to large. I also like to flip some stickbaits up into shore on my second rod while I’m trolling to increase my chances. I like to have two stickbaits of each size and color so that I can take a red medium tip permanent marker and draw some red marks on the gills and spots on the body to customize the lure a little to entice more strike’s. I like to troll in five to fifteen feet of water, 5ft to 40 ft off of the shoreline, but be careful of any boulder’s you encounter that are lingering just under the surface. Don’t hit it with the boat or the motor, but do your best to troll around it because this is where they hide. You can catch them in the depths as well, but the best fishing is ripping the shore line. Keep your rod in your hand and rip the line back a few times now and then to change up the motion of the lure. When you spot a big brown suspended off the bottom, troll through that area back and forth in all directions until you trigger an aggressive strike. First and foremost Browns are aggressive opportunists. They will sit and wait for smaller fish to swim by and pounce. They will lurk around hunting smaller fish as well and chase down prey with lightning speeds. Brown trout will eat any species of fish small enough to consume. They will take an easy meal such as a worm but you will not consistently catch quality browns on a crawler in most waters. We like to do the following to trick these beautiful fish. Stick baits such as Rapala f-13 and f-18 are my lure of choice. These are ripping baits and are intended to be pulled swiftly through the water. These baits mimic small fish and can be found in many different species imitations. You need to check the action of your stick bait and tune it if necessary. Tweaking the eyelet that you tie to will tune your lure to run as desired. Early fall and late spring you want to run fast trolling speeds with stick baits. 3-4.5 mph seems to work well in warm water. When the water starts to get cold later in the year you need to slow it down a touch but still much faster than trout trolling. Keep in mind these lures won't work at very slow speeds. You always want to run your stick bait right on the bottom. Within 1-2 feet. Browns stay at or near the bottom most of the time. Try close to shore in 6 ft. of water first depending on how deep your lure of choice runs. Work rocky points and areas with mostly rocky bottoms. Browns like having cover. The best time to catch large browns is on the nastiest, windy, rainy days you can find. The worse weather, the better. I have no clue why but trust me bad weather equals big browns. Change the appearance of your stick bait. Use red sharpie or model paint to add red sides, bleeding gills or red eyes. Use your imagination. THIS REALLY WORKS. Maybe change out the front hook to a red bleeder hook. Also use lots of scent. Pro cure has awesome bait scents. UV ones for low light are great. Well trained stick baits are the best bet every time. A new shiny lure doesn't work as well as one that you've caught a lot of fish on. If you find a lure that works well it probably has just the right action. It may look the same as the next one but trust me it has that special little something that those big Lunkers like. Your knot plays a huge part in tricking large browns. Different knots can be found on our website. I prefer a Rapala Knot. This knot has a loop at the end attached to your lure letting the lure move more freely. I NEVER use a swivel on a stick bait. They just don't work well in my opinion. A traditional fishing knot has it's place but not on a stick bait. They restrict the action of the lure and inhibit it's movement. Lastly. Some people call it ripping. Others call it top lining, others call it long lining. Whatever you want to call it make sure you get your lure at least 100 ft. behind the boat. 200ft. even better. Keep it ripping too. Don't let your stick bait drag behind the boat lifelessly. Jerking and ripping makes a stick bait dart around and go crazy back there and that's what those Browns love. Brown Trout - Luck or Skill This is Lunker Hunter and this place is all about sharing our secrets. A couple browns here and there may be luck but catching browns most of the time they are targeted is pure SKILL! Myself and a small group of friends here in the Placerville area pride ourselves on being able to successfully target Brown trout pretty regularly and target ONLY browns during certain times of the year. When targeting browns we catch only a small handful of bows, macs, etc. So I'll share a few techniques we like to use. First and foremost Browns are aggressive opportunists. They will sit and wait for smaller fish to swim by and pounce. They will lurk around hunting smaller fish as well and chase down prey with lightning speeds. Brown trout will eat any species of fish small enough to consume. They will take an easy meal such as a worm but you will not consistently catch quality browns on a crawler in most waters. We like to do the following to trick these beautiful fish. 1- Stick baits such as Rapala f-13 and f-18 are my lure of choice. These are ripping baits and are intended to be pulled swiftly through the water. These baits mimic small fish and can be found in many different species imitations. You need to check the action of your stick bait and tune it if necessary. Tweaking the eyelet that you tie to will tune your lure to run as desired. 2- Early fall and late spring you want to run fast trolling speeds with stick baits. 3-4.5 mph seems to work well in warm water. When the water starts to get cold later in the year you need to slow it down a touch but still much faster than trout trolling. Keep in mind these lures won't work at very slow speeds. 3- You always want to run your stick bait right on the bottom. Within 1-2 feet. Browns stay at or near the bottom most of the time. Try close to shore in 6 ft. of water first depending on how deep your lure of choice runs. Work rocky points and areas with mostly rocky bottoms. Browns like having cover. 4- The best time to catch large browns is on the nastiest, windy, rainy days you can find. The worse weather, the better. I have no clue why but trust me bad weather equals big browns. 5- Change the appearance of your stick bait. Use red sharpie or model paint to add red sides, bleeding gills or red eyes. Use your imagination. THIS REALLY WORKS. Maybe change out the front hook to a red bleeder hook. Also use lots of scent. Pro cure has awesome bait scents. UV ones for low light are great. 6-Well trained stick baits are the best bet every time. A new shiny lure doesn't work as well as one that you've caught a lot of fish on. If you find a lure that works well it probably has just the right action. It may look the same as the next one but trust me it has that special little something that those big Lunkers like. 7- Your knot plays a huge part in tricking large browns. Different knots can be found on our website. I prefer a Rapala Knot. This knot has a loop at the end attached to your lure letting the lure move more freely. I NEVER use a swivel on a stick bait. They just don't work well in my opinion. A traditional fishing knot has it's place but not on a stick bait. They restrict the action of the lure and inhibit it's movement. 8- Lastly. Some people call it ripping. Others call it top lining, others call it long lining. Whatever you want to call it make sure you get your lure at least 100 ft. behind the boat. 200ft. even better. Keep it ripping too. Don't let your stick bait drag behind the boat lifelessly. Jerking and ripping makes a stick bait dart around and go crazy back there and that's what those Browns love. Mackinaw – Lake Trout Trolling for Mackinaw (Lake Trout) Dodger / Flasher - Medium to Large Silver Dodger Depth - 30 ft to 150 ft Location - Deep Water Lure - Imitation Minnow Stickbaits Hook Tipped With - Live Minnow Scent - None How To Catch A Big Mackinaw Or Lake Trout There are many different ways to catch those big Lakers ranging from top lining the regular trout gear and a worm or minnow to downrigging the deep water with a dodger or J plug to long lining a Rapala or AC plug to Jigging the depths with a Gibbs minnow or torpedo or even a minnow. We have caught macs using every technique we know and have a great time no matter which method we use. NOTE-Minnows are only allowed to be used in the lakes in the Tahoe basin. You may only use the minnows caught from the lake you are fishing and may not transport them to other lakes. Read your local Regulations before using any live bait. Late fall to late spring the action seems to be on top. Top lining a Rapala f-18 or an AC plug will produce fish this time of year but later in the season you will need to get down deep for the fish. Early summer to fall the Macs are down deep feeding on tiny freshwater shrimp. They will take your bait if presented in front of them. Watch your sonar for fish right on the bottom and slow troll through them. The fish will be stacked up in areas where there are drop offs and ledges. I like to use a large dodger with a 14-18 inch leader with a size 4 steelhead or salmon hook and a small minnow. Your bait does not need to be alive. You can use scent and the action of the dodger will make the minnow move around even if it's dead. Anything from swimbaits to J-plugs can also be affective on the wire. If you don’t have downriggers you can set up a 3 way swivel with a short dropper line to an 8 or 10 oz. lead ball to reach the depths. Landlocked Salmon When it’s time to spawn, Salmon make the trek back to the river that they were born in. With the changes made to retain water by building dams, the salmon are not able to make it up the river system to where they need to spawn.  California Department of Fish and Wildlife create ladder systems in the rivers, just below a dam, so the salmon can swim up into the fish hatchery for egg and sperm collection, so they can fertilize the eggs, and raise the salmon so that they can be planted back into the river system so they can swim back to the ocean and grow to maturity and repeat the cycle. A portion of the little salmon are planted into lakes throughout California. There are three main types of these landlocked Salmon that are targeted for this unique fishery. Kokanee Salmon, King Salmon, and Coho Salmon. Kokanee Salmon (Landlocked) Landlocked Kokanee Salmon The common name for a land locked Sockeye Salmon is Kokanee (pronounced coke-a-nee). Kokanee spend their entire life in freshwater, and they do not migrate to the ocean. Kokanee typically inhabit large lakes, and will return to the streams they were born in, or along the shoreline with gravel bottoms in order to spawn. The Kokanee die after spawning, and the cycle of life continues with their offspring, which will complete the same cycle. The cycle typically takes three to seven years to complete. Although Kokanee are much smaller than most other salmon breeds, they are ferocious fighters. They are known to be very active when they get hooked. They typically jump and launch themselves into the air once they feel the hook, spinning, and jumping trying to spit the hook. They have very soft mouths, so you don’t want to set the hook, you just want to real straight in, keeping the line tight with no slack. If you find yourself having a lot of LDR’s (long distance release’s), or losing the fish before you can land them, you may want to add a rubber snubber to your line, to take some of the impact of the combination of the line moving through the water and the Kokanee biting the line, to lessen the odds of losing the fish. Kokanee are mostly silver with a dark blue or silver back. They have small spots along the back and the tail. When they spawn, their body turns bright read and their head turns a dark green. Male Kokanee develop a pronounced hump on the back and a fierce-looking hooked jaw. Kokanee occur naturally in the wild where sockeye populations were cut off from the sea by dams or other geographical events. They share the same range as the sockeye salmon. They are found in many areas, from California up to Alaska, as well as inland Idaho, and as far as Japan, Korea, and Russia. There are naturally occurring populations, as well as being stocked by fish and game management agencies in large cold water lakes throughout California and the mountain West, as well as far east to Maine, and south to North Carolina. Kokanee can vary widely in size, depending on how plentiful the food is, and how large the population of Kokanee is. Most are in the 8 to 12 inch range, but can grow into the mid 20 inch range under the best conditions. A two pounder would be a decent catch, with a five pounder to be thought of as a trophy size. The largest Kokanee ever caught was a world record set by Ron Campbell at Wallowa Lake in Oregon. This Lunker was 27 inches long, and it weighted 9.67 pounds. Kokanee feed mostly on plankton, so they typically hang out in open water near the lake surface when the water is cool, and in deep water during the summer time. The best way to catch Kokanee is trolling small shrimp and octopus type fly’s, in pink, red, blue, or white. Small Kokanee sized spoons with a corn tipped hook (powerbait makes a great corn kernel to use for this purpose). I typically like to use a special Kokanee scent with pink coloring to soak the corn in, which tends to attract them more. King Salmon (Landlocked) Landlocked King Salmon Landlocked King Salmon, which are Chinook salmon, are not a subspecies of the full-sized saltwater salmon. They are planted in California lakes from the salmon that swam up the river systems, and into the fish hatcheries. Once the goals have been met at the hatcheries for the fish to be released back into the rivers, some of the extra fish from these hatcheries are planted in local lakes to make a nice salmon fishery in the lakes. Since they have no access to the ocean, the fish become landlocked and the lake is their home.  It’s possible for landlocked King Salmon to reach double digit weight, but most of them top out at around six pounds. They typically roam around the lake’s open water areas. They typically live for three to four years and then die off naturally. For landlocked King Salmon to get as large as they do, they are meat eaters, typically eating threadfin shad and pond smelt. Most anglers like to troll for King’s with stickbaits that imitate the local minnows that they are accustomed to eating. Spoons, needlefish, and Apex also work well. Another method that works well is to add shad to the lure. I typically soak mine in non-iodized salt to make them stick together better, and sometimes add some color and scent to the mix as well. Another method is to use a shad rolling harness and troll for the King’s. Some people like to drift live minnows, and bass fishermen are known to catch a few kings using rubber worms off of the shorelines in about 25 feet of water. For trolling, I typically find them in the 40-60 feet deep range. One of California’s best producers of big landlocked King salmon, and the best shot at a fish over ten pounds is Lake Shasta. Other great lakes are Folsom Lake, Lake Almanor, Pine Flat Reservoir, Don Pedro Reservoir, Del Valle Reservoir, and Lake Berryessa. The best time of year to fish for King’s are in the spring and fall as the lakes turnover. Landlocked Coho Salmon Landlocked Coho Salmon Landlocked Coho salmon, also known as Silver, are notorious jumpers and spinners as they get hooked. The fish can easily be identified by their white mouth and black gum line, along with spots along the dorsal area. Coho Salmon can attain an average weight of twelve to eighteen pounds. Lake Oroville was planted with Coho salmon in the 1970’s, but the Department of Water Resources could not find a reliable source of eggs and the program was discontinue. They then began planting Kings as the salmon of choice in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but they found that the King’s were transmitting a virus called IHN, and they went back to planting Coho’s. They found a reliable source for eggs from a Washington State hatchery and thus Lake Oroville’s contemporary coho era began. Coho typically live for four to six years. Coho typically feed on baitfish most of their lives, so angler’s typically use imitation minnow stickbaits, spoons, needlefish, spinners, flies, and live bait. The best time to catch Coho are in the spring and fall months. Halibut Catching Halibut in the Bay Halibut fishing in the summer months is a great way to escape the lake lice and enjoy catching some hard fighting, great tasting fish! Methods for catching Halibut in the bay include drifting live anchovies, herring, or sardines and Trolling live or frozen anchovies, herring, or sardines. A stinger hook setup is a must when trolling. 3 out of 4 fish are hooked by the stinger. I use a size 2 treble hook for a stinger and a 1/0 single hook. Hook the minnow through the nose with the single hook and let the stinger dangle behind the baits tail. Run 30 pound line to a 3 way swivel, 1 ft. dropper to a 10 oz. trolling weight, 3 ft leader to a chrome or green dodger, 2 ft. leader to your hooks. Troll slow at first letting your weight drag on the bottom all the time. Slowly pick up your speed to 2 mph if you're not picking up fish at 1.5 mph. I rarely troll for halibut over 3 mph but sometimes they like a faster presentation. Some good trolling spots- I like to start in the Berkley Flats because it's only a 5 minute run from the launch ramp at the Berkley Marina. find 20 ft. water and let em down. The south side of Alcatraz, west side of Treasure island, east of Candlestick park, south west side of Angel island, just north of the Golden Gate, paradise, south hampton shoals, are some of my favorite spots on the inside. You can drift live bait in any of these spots as well. Check the Fishing Regulations before you fish! Largemouth Bass Smallmouth Bass Spotted Bass Striped Bass – Striper How To Catch Big Striped Bass - Stripers! Catching Stripers in the Delta There are several techniques to catching striped bass. Soaking Bait - You can soak many different types of bait for stripers but these are the most effective: sardines, Frozen or fresh shad, ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, or pile worms. Soaking bait is the easiest and most relaxing method of striper fishing but results in the highest mortality rate for released fish. The most common setup for bait fishing is the sliding sinker rig. Place a 1 - 8 oz. (depending on the current) weight so that it slides freely or use a slider at the end of your main line, followed by a heavy barrel swivel, followed by a 2 - 3 foot leader, last goes a 2/0 - 5/0 hook depending on the size of the bait you are going to use. Another commonly used bait fishing rig is the 3 way swivel rig. Place a 3 way swivel at the end of your main line. Then tie a 1 foot dropper with a 2 - 8 oz. weight on one of the other eyes of the swivel. Last tie a 3 foot leader with a 2/0 - 5/0 hook to the last eye of the swivel so that the weight sits on the bottom and your bait is suspended one foot from the bottom. This rig works very well to keep your bait out of the mud and grass. You can adjust your weight line if your bait comes up with grass on it. Live Bait - Live bait is very affective for catching larger stripers. Most common live baits are anchovies, Jumbo minnows, Bull heads, and mud suckers. There are many methods of live bait fishing. This technique is similar to soaking bait but gives you the ability to keep the smaller diaper stripers from robbing the bait all day. The most common method for live bait is the 3 way swivel method described above. The hook size and style varies for the type of bait. Another live bait method is flylining or freelining. This is when you use a hook and live bait at the end of your main line with no weight. This method allows the bait to swim freely but the hook and line slightly inhibit its swimming ability making the bait fish look injured. Trolling for Stripers - Trolling is a technique that is very affective in catching large stripers. It is a growing in popularity and is a very exciting way to fish. You can troll many different varieties of lures including: Rebels, Bombers, Rapalas, Yozuris, just to name a few. Fast trolling about 3 - 4 mph is the most effective. You want to fish waters that are just slightly deeper than the depth your lure runs. It is very important that your lure stays within 2 feet from the bottom. The best time to troll for stripers is when the current is very slow. The top of high tide is your best bet for trolling but low tide is good sometimes too. Most people like to modify their trolling lure by adding a long rubber worm to the bottom of the back hook so it follows the lure. This makes the lure more visible and adds great action to an already good bait. Marking on the lure with bright paint or marker works well also. The fish usually pick up your lure from the bottom so apply your markings to the bottom and sides of the lure for best results. Be sure and keep some unmarked lures in your boat for those days when the fish don't want the marked up ones. CHANGE YOUR LURE ABOUT EVERY 30 MINUTES if you aren’t catching on the one your using. Stripers change their eating habits very often and the hot lure for one day may not work at all the next. You don’t want to waste your time dragging a lure around all day that isn't going to work. Keep changing and you will find the right one. DELTA STRIPED BASS FISHING DELTA STRIPED BASS FISHING  Stripers are my favorite fish to target. There are plenty of fish in the delta system to make a successful trip almost year round. The winter months are a little slower than the spring and summer but limits can be had all year. Bait fisherman seem to have the best results on cut bait such as shad, sardines, anchovies, etc. Live grass shrimp and ghost shrimp work well. Live minnows are also a fun method in the spring and summer months and most anglers prefer mudsuckers, bluegill, bullheads, etc for live bait. I like to fillet the side of the shad to provide more scent and better rolling action in the water. With sardines I use a 2 inch piece of fillet from the side of the sardine. Try to use a hook that fits the size of your bait. Ranging from 2/0 to 5/0. When fishing with bullheads or mudsuckers you should thread the bait down the back so your line enters near the tail then continues just under the skin and your hook is exiting the skin at the top of the head. Stripers attack their pray head first. Seasons- The spring run up is the best season in the Delta for trolling and catching fish in large numbers. Summer months usually produce a little less fish than the spring but is shortly followed by the fall/winter run which seems to be when a lot of really big fish are caught by the anglers soaking bait. Some trolling spots - Franks Tract, San Andreas shoals on the San Joaquin, White Slough, Potato slough, the Mokelumne River on the San Joaquin side. Steamboat slough, Cache slough, Power lines below Rio Vista, and the old Sac river on the Sacramento river side. I like to troll deep more often than most anglers running Broken Back Rebels. I do however troll shallow if the deeper fish won't cooperate. For shallow trolling I use shallow Bombers and Yozuri’s. Don’t forget the worm trailer! Black Crappie White Crappie Crappie - There are two types of Crappie, black and white Crappie. Crappie are a native fish species to North America. They typically live in deeper water during the day, and come into the shallow water in the evenings and mornings to feed. They are typically found in clear water lurking around submerged vegetation, trees, and other objects in three to six feet of water. Crappie school together, and they also school with other types of fin fish. They live an average of about ten to twelve years, and can grow to a little over five pounds, with the average catch size between a quarter to a half pound. Small jigs of around 1/8 ounce tend to work the best for us. We also catch them on spinnerbaits, small minnow stickbaits, and other small spinners work great. Small rubber worms, small live worms, and minnows will also work well.  It’s important to keep your line tight, and retrieve your lure in very slowly. If you know the Crappie are there, and they are not biting, try slowing it down even more. Bluegill Bluegill are fun to target and catch. When you get into a school of bluegill you can get into a burst of action cast after cast. They can grow to lengths over twelve inches long, and to a weight of over four pounds. Bluegill like slow moving sections of water in creeks and streams, and shallow areas on lakes. They typically school together with other panfish in groups of ten or more. They bite just about anything you throw at them, and are fun to catch. Small worms, crickets, and grasshoppers (live or fake) work great. The most important thing to keep in mind is that they typically have small mouths, so it is important to have smaller baits with smaller hooks. You can also use small jigs and small plastics to entice them to bite. If you know they are there and you aren’t getting any fish biting, slow it down. They don’t typically chase anything for their next meal, reel slowly, let your lure drop and reel, and you are sure to get hooked into some great bluegill fishing action! Channel Catfish
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