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Advice On Bank Fishing Lakes In Central CA?


schplurg

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I'm customizing my van so I can camp/sleep in it for multi-day fishing trips. I live in San Jose and want to find some lakes I can bank fish that are out of my area. Creeks might be cool too.

 

I want my first trip to be one night, maybe two. Say from Sacramento area south to, I dunno actually. Anything 3-4 hours from San Jose. Motherlode area is in my range etc.

 

Small or large water bodies. I want to be able to drive up and walk to shore and fish like I can where I live.

 

I'd like to go this weekend.

 

- shore access

- places to park near enough to reach the water. Side of road, whatever

- I am willing to walk a bit to get to the water

- not looking for specific spots, just names of lakes would be fine.

 

Not sure what else.  I am familiar with Lake Tulloch, though there's no real bank fishing there. I could do the Delta but not sure where to fish for black bass from shore. I lived in Manteca so I've fished in that general area for stripers. 

 

For example, I drove by north shore of Camanche recently and that looks inaccessible. Lake is far from the road. Too bad because my cousin lives there.

 

Thanks.

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I’ve seen people fishing from the shore before at Camamche near the north launch area before and catching trout.  Another spot which I’ve seen a ton of people fishing from shore has been Amador.  I’ve also fished out of Melones Glory Hole area before from the shore when I’ve been up there camping and doing pretty good on catching some small spots.  For the Delta, literally look for roads that run parallel to the water and explore.

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@schplurg, if you’re looking for south delta areas to shore fish, maybe check out Bethany Reservior or Italian Slough/ Clifton Court Forebay just past Lazy M Marina or Victoria Canal. As @camman suggested, drive the levies and if an area looks good, just stop a fish it. A cayak or a float tube might be a future option to cover more water once you’ve found areas you like...

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On 3/15/2021 at 10:46 PM, schplurg said:

I'm customizing my van so I can camp/sleep in it for multi-day fishing trips. I live in San Jose and want to find some lakes I can bank fish that are out of my area. Creeks might be cool too.

 

I want my first trip to be one night, maybe two. Say from Sacramento area south to, I dunno actually. Anything 3-4 hours from San Jose. Motherlode area is in my range etc.

 

Small or large water bodies. I want to be able to drive up and walk to shore and fish like I can where I live.

 

I'd like to go this weekend.

 

- shore access

- places to park near enough to reach the water. Side of road, whatever

- I am willing to walk a bit to get to the water

- not looking for specific spots, just names of lakes would be fine.

 

Not sure what else.  I am familiar with Lake Tulloch, though there's no real bank fishing there. I could do the Delta but not sure where to fish for black bass from shore. I lived in Manteca so I've fished in that general area for stripers. 

 

For example, I drove by north shore of Camanche recently and that looks inaccessible. Lake is far from the road. Too bad because my cousin lives there.

 

Thanks.

Central Valley comes down to Bakersfield. You can fish Eastman, Pine Flat, Isabella, Success, Kaweah, Millerton, Hensley and all the lakes around Fresno. You can also drive up the Sequoia, Sierra and Yosemite for trout. Come on over before the weather hits 105.  

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6 hours ago, J._Bricker said:

@schplurg, if you’re looking for south delta areas to shore fish, maybe check out Bethany Reservior or Italian Slough/ Clifton Court Forebay just past Lazy M Marina or Victoria Canal. As @camman suggested, drive the levies and if an area looks good, just stop a fish it. A cayak or a float tube might be a future option to cover more water once you’ve found areas you like...

 

Cool, good tips all! I've fished Clifton Court for stripers. I used to live in Manteca and would head to Lathrop area often and hit the San Joaquin. Never caught black bass the few times I tried, but I'm better now ;) 

 

I do have a kayak but my tendinitis is keeping me from using it (paddle only). I could take it easy though, hmmm. I really should use it especially on the Delta. Could launch at Mossdale, Tracy Oasis or Lazy M. My first trip I will bank fish for sure though.

 

I used to fish the levy near Tracy too, just explore like you guys said. Lot of levy access north of Tracy. I may just do that. At least I'm familiar with it so it might be a good idea for a first "camping" trip.

 

I know where I could park and sleep etc. Probably in town so I don't get robbed. Might even walk out to Disco just to check it out. Haven't been there in decades. 

 

Good stuff!

3 hours ago, Caliyak said:

Central Valley comes down to Bakersfield. You can fish Eastman, Pine Flat, Isabella, Success, Kaweah, Millerton, Hensley and all the lakes around Fresno. You can also drive up the Sequoia, Sierra and Yosemite for trout. Come on over before the weather hits 105.  

 

I very much want to do the trout thing. All I need is a spot to hit. My cousin likes Electra Rd east of Camanche on the Moke River. I don't trout fish but I want to learn creek fishing and explore. It's actually what I had in mind when tricking out my van for camping.

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Drive towards the town of Strawberry, east of Modesto. There are two nice lakes up there, Pinecrest and Beardsley. There is also Donnell. You can't go wrong up in that part of the mountains. 

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  • Super User

Park at your dad's and use his dock! :wink7:

 

Melones has some good shore fishing areas with a really good one being the water ski cove area you can access off of Shell Rd/Table Mountain. Not sure if you can park overnight or if it's just day use. If you shore fish out there just be sure to watch your steps (rattlers).

 

If you're heading up 108 it may also be worth hitting up Lyons (in addition to Pinecrest). It's planted pretty regularly during spring/summer and, rumor has it, you may want to bring along a bass rig as well. There are a lot of small campgrounds with stream access along the highway between Lyons and Kennedy Meadows where you should be able to catch a lot of trout all through the summer.

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Awesome thanks! I'm getting excited to explore. I may go to a local lake tonight and fish and stay the night so I can test out my setup. Make sure I haven't overlooked anything before I take a longer trip.

 

I can't find a Kennedy Meadows close to that area. That whole area though, Lyons, Pinecrest etc looks amazing.

 

Are there trails down to the water at Melones where you mentioned? Looks like a good distance on Google maps. Which is fine, just want to make sure I'm in the right area.

 

Thanks again!

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  • Super User

That cove is a relatively short walk/hike to the water starting near the area where people park to climb Table Mountain. I hiked down from there with a float tube a few years ago and it wasn't bad at all even in waders. Kennedy Meadows is up closer to the pass right before you really start making the steep elevation gains. If you really get into summer trout fishing the east side of the Sierras has a ton of options for shore fishing lakes (or streams).

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On 3/15/2021 at 10:46 PM, schplurg said:

I'm customizing my van so I can camp/sleep in it for multi-day fishing trips. I live in San Jose and want to find some lakes I can bank fish that are out of my area. Creeks might be cool too.

 

I want my first trip to be one night, maybe two. Say from Sacramento area south to, I dunno actually. Anything 3-4 hours from San Jose. Motherlode area is in my range etc.

 

Small or large water bodies. I want to be able to drive up and walk to shore and fish like I can where I live.

 

I'd like to go this weekend.

 

- shore access

- places to park near enough to reach the water. Side of road, whatever

- I am willing to walk a bit to get to the water

- not looking for specific spots, just names of lakes would be fine.

 

Not sure what else.  I am familiar with Lake Tulloch, though there's no real bank fishing there. I could do the Delta but not sure where to fish for black bass from shore. I lived in Manteca so I've fished in that general area for stripers. 

 

For example, I drove by north shore of Camanche recently and that looks inaccessible. Lake is far from the road. Too bad because my cousin lives there.

 

Thanks.

Message me bro, I’ll be your guide for few lakes in LA area. I know 4 lakes, 3 free to stay and 1 with payment and I’ll fish by your side and learn from you ?

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On 3/20/2021 at 10:20 PM, NorcalBassin said:

That cove is a relatively short walk/hike to the water starting near the area where people park to climb Table Mountain. I hiked down from there with a float tube a few years ago and it wasn't bad at all even in waders. Kennedy Meadows is up closer to the pass right before you really start making the steep elevation gains. If you really get into summer trout fishing the east side of the Sierras has a ton of options for shore fishing lakes (or streams).

 

After looking it up on a map I decided to take my Dad on the short hike up Table Mountain. Sounds like it should be beautiful this time of year. I'll take a look at the water level while I'm there and figure if I'm gonna fish it. Looks like a good spot.

 

On 3/20/2021 at 10:31 PM, ATA said:

Message me bro, I’ll be your guide for few lakes in LA area. I know 4 lakes, 3 free to stay and 1 with payment and I’ll fish by your side and learn from you ?

 

If I head that way I will look you up, thanks! Except that after seeing those fish in your avatar picture I think you're gonna need to teach me!

 

Awesome forum! Thanks guys.

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Man those fish only good for picture, they are drop shot catches, Somehow for me catching fish for me is more enjoyable when I catch them with my favorite combo or techniques.  We all know drop shooting and wacky rigging and Texas rigging will get you bite. but by all means man, if you want to catch the same fishes in that picture, ill be your guide and your host.

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Cool man!

 

I've been bass fishing only 3 years, I have not even tried a drop shot yet haha!

 

Right now I'm trying to catch a bass on many different baits. First chatterbait catch last year. First senko catches too. I like crank baits for some reason and T-rigged flukes. never caught on a jig. but have only tried a few times. I fish a lot but I guess I need to try more things now. And more locations of course! Should be a fun year.

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After I get my E150 work van to Oregon I'm going to remove the shelves and put my homemade bed in there. (Two different foam layers, 4" thick totally).  I'm going to copy that pvc /foam rod rack idea for sure.  I was an irrigation repair guy for 40+ years so I can play with some pvc.

I only have like 78K miles on my van so it should last until the end times for me.

I used to fish my 10' Basshunter boat out of the back of a 1970 2 wheel drive Blazer.  Hit all the backwaters and sloughs on the delta at night.  If you parked a 2 wheel drive Blazer on the delta now it would be stolen, lol.  That was 25+ years ago before there were so many creepy types cruising.  

Pinecrest and the streams along the way were part of my 20's.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sweet looking minivan conversion, a place to fully stretch out and crash without needing a tent or trailer!  I'm a shore person and have fished New Melones (5) times in the spring before it got crazy hot.  Red circles are where I parked my first three times in March 2015 when the CA drought was peaking and water level was crazy low.  There wasn't a whole lot of shoreline available to shore people but there were a lot of half submerged dead trees to fish, was pretty productive.  Purple circles are where I parked April 2019 when water level was much higher and there were a lot more shore spots available.  People with boats going up Angel's Creek have it the best but there are some decent shore where you can catch a half dozen spotted bass  if you go at the right time before it gets too hot and the fish go to deeper water.

melones.thumb.jpg.b579db144d6b4e5070d13f43840ddd0a.jpg
 

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Cool thanks for the details! That's awesome. :) 

 

I did my first overnight trip in the van. Wasn't exactly camping. I drove to Lathrop one evening, cooked in Target parking lot, and slept in a neighborhood I felt safe. Minivan blends right in. I'm not a kid and I don't intend to do "stealth" camping, but I needed to give the van a try, and the levy where I was going to fish didn't seem safe to sleep. It may be.

 

It was cool. Comfy bed, watched a movie on my phone, had a beer (shhh). I couldn't sleep because I'm not used to sleeping in a van on a residential street!

 

Drove to the levy early, rigged and threw in my line, then cooked breakfast. Did dishes.

 

Oh new tackle shop in Manteca called MEGA BAIT & TACKLE. BPS was closed and nobody else had bait. Cool guy and glad I found it.

 

Anyways it was fun! The van is definitely a good setup. so far

 

Here is a growing list of features:

 

- the PVC rod rack.

- bed with storage underneath

- 5 gallon water bottle with a $10 rechargeable pump (Amazon).

- ice chest

- something to use as a toilet. I'll give details if someone asks

- camp stove, gas, spices, oil, canned food, ramen, plastic plates, silverware, cups.

- Curtain to block cab from back of van

- covers for the windows (Reflectix with black felt on one side)

- DIY battery box for 12 volt lights, charging cameras and phones. 16 amp hours.

 

NEW

- solar panels, a controller and a 47 ah gel battery (all free!). Haven't used any of it yet.

- gonna build a small wood cabinet next to the bed to organize stuff.

- a table I'm designing. Kinda hard to cook without one ;) 

- Making an awning with telescopic poles from BPS ($10 each pole).

- I got this cool little rechargeable fan. Charges with USB and lasts many hours. Perfect for a van and blows some impressive air. Also has a light on it.. Amazon.

 

Who knows what else! I'm enjoying designing this stuff.

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If you can make it up to New Melones it sounds like right now is the time to go for bank fishing - 

 

BASS
 
The bass bite is wide opened right now for both bank and boat fisherman. The majority of the fish are no deeper than 20 ft and are extremely aggressive right now. Most of the fish are starting to move off of their beds and guard their fry although there are still a few largemouth still on beds. A good way to catch some of the larger fish at the moment (although they will be skinny from spawn) would be to throw large Huddleston style swimbaits or S-wavers. Their are plenty of different baits that will work to catch fish this time of year, a few of them would be,California Reservoir Lure jigs, Lucky Craft crankbaits, Bass Arts Creations spinnerbaits, Frenzy a-rigs, River2Sea jerkbaits or soft plastics. Josh Parris Guide Service has been putting clients on chunky 10+ lb. bass for his clients the last few weeks. Below is Stan on a 10.87 lb. beauty. To set up a great guide trip on New Melones, you can contact Josh @ 209-217-7368
 
 
Also if you haven't already, go to the Glory Hole Sports website (http://gloryholesports.com/) and subscribe to their newsletter, every week or two they send out a newsletter with water/fishing conditions, the info I just posted came into my inbox this morning.  My advice if you go is to dropshot anything 3 inches and green.
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Thank you very much, I think I will hit New Melones ASAP. Maybe a week or so. Great info!!!

 

Edit to add:

I just checked satellite view and saw all the parking areas. Very cool! I've seen this area on a map before but never gave it a good look. I will make this a multi-day fishing trip for sure. And my Dad lives one lake downstream on Tulloch.

 

Maybe go into work this weekend and get er done early and take off for the whole week! 

 

I hope these areas are open they look like camping areas. Well nevertheless I'm going, and maybe I'll bring the yak. 

 

Update: according to the website, campgrounds are open there. :) I'll get one.

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Got a campground at Glory Hole for monday thru wednesday nights. My cousin will probably come hang out as well as another friend I've never actually met. Looking forward to not only fishing but relaxing and doing nothing. Can't wait!

 

 

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On 4/16/2021 at 7:39 AM, Darth-Baiter said:

New Melones.  Is that “central” CA?

 

good luck. I’d hit Clearlake with your kayak OP. 

 

I don't know how central it is. Doesn't seem north enough to me ;) I want to hit many good lakes this year. I'm so excited to leave Monday! I'd do the yak but tendinitis. Getting help with that though. May bring it next time.

 

I chose Melone's mainly based on advice here but I will go to Clear Lake, Don Pedro, Delta, Sierras. I'm open to anything. I just need to get away. Wish I could leave right now.

 

I have my van set up with a very nice 47(?)ah gel battery that was given to me brand new. Wish it was bigger but - free. So no fridge, but I can power lights indoor and out, cam and phone chargers, a fan, whatever. And if the battery gets low I'm bringing one of my two very thin solar panels and a charge controller. Also a free gift. Ya I know, nice gifts! It's a start.

 

Oh by "set up" I mean I set the battery in the back storage area of the van, and made it so I can wire it up to my DIY portable battery box that has a few USB ports and other 12 volt connectivity. That's it. Anyways, I got juice for now.

 

Bought a small fire extinguisher too while I was at it.

 

Hurry up Monday!

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