If fish aren’t biting at one lake, try another

John Liechty

As much as I love fishing and guiding on New Melones Reservoir, it is nice to switch things up and go for a change of scenery. With there being so many surrounding Mother Lode lakes that I offer my fishing guide service, there is always an option and location to go where the fish are biting. Luckily, this past weekend I had a couple of clients who were flexible with our destinations and were enthusiastic to fish a variety of lakes over the three-day weekend.

The first trip we stayed committed to my home water, which is New Melones. Being only a few minutes from home with incredible fishing opportunities, it is hard not to want to be on this lake every day. However, recently the fishing has been tougher than expected for this particular time of the year, and on this trip, we found no exception. Some of my clients have hired me numerous times and are accustomed to action packed outings. After finding ourselves working to get bites, we decided to call an audible and fish other lakes the following days.

For the second day, I proposed that we fish a small farm lake just outside of Copperopolis, Salt Springs. This is one of the first lakes I had ever guided on, way back in 1996. That’s when I was a fly-fishing guide out of my parents’ fly shop, White Pines Outdoors. My dad would tell me stories of some of his guided trips on this lake dating back to the ’70s. The change of pace from targeting a deep rock reservoir to tossing into shallow vegetation was a treat. And the fish didn’t let us down, as we hauled numerous quality largemouth bass out of the grassy and weeded cover.

For our third and final lake, we took a trip across the Stevenot Bridge, past Jamestown and settled onto Moccasin Point to try our luck on Lake Don Pedro. Avoiding the heat, we followed shaded bluff walls and were rewarded with instant success. We were able to boat multiple fish on nearly every stop we made. With double hookups and fish on consecutive casts, we agreed we were on the right body of water.

These lakes and all lakes throughout the Mother Lode will go through peaks and valleys. The fishing can be red hot one week and ice cold the next. The beauty of living and guiding in this area is that there are multiple lakes to choose from and all are less than an hour’s drive from home.

I’m sure New Melones will rebound from this slump any day now and be the destination of choice once again. Making decisions is a big part of fishing. We made the right ones this past weekend and I will continue to bounce around the variety of lakes chasing the next best bite.

John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932 or xperiencefishing.net

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