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Fishing Tips


Fishing conditions are always changing and that can include the weather, effective baits, fishing styles, and especially, locations. These tips represent the most commonly used practices to catch fish at each of our lakes. If you’re new to a lake, the information on this page will get you off to a good start. If you’re looking for the current hot spots or lures, please visit our fishing conditions.

If you’re up for reading some more, check out our “recommended reading” page. We’ve handpicked books by our favorite authors covering everything from basic fishing techniques to remote lakes you’ve never heard of.

Lake Camanche

Lake Camanche is known for its bass fishing. Camanche’s bass population includes Smallmouth, Alabama Spotted and both Northern and Florida-strain Largemouth bass. Once these bass have completed spawning, a fierce feeding mode occurs. The largemouth strains are particularly aggressive in taking top water lures such as "Rattling Rouges" and other stick baits. During mid-day hours, bass may move into deeper water but are still easy to catch on deep diving crankbaits; the "Poe’s Super Cedars", in shad or sunfish colors work best. Another successful technique is to throw a 4 to 6 inch plastic worm, in smoke or green colors, in deep water around drop-offs and breaks. Other species to be found in Lake Camanche include crappie, bluegill and sunfish.

The Camanche Recreation Company, park concessionaire, has planted a minimum of 10,000 Florida-strain bass every summer since 1992. All of these bass plants are now starting to pay off. A 12.89 pound largemouth was landed last August. Larger, lake-record-breaking bass are expected to start showing soon as the Florida-strain bass, planted in the early nineties, begin reaching adulthood.

Camanche has also gained a reputation as a great trout fishery since regular trout plants began in 1989. Trout are planted October-May in the lake as well as in the south shore trout pond. This stocked trout pond is an ideal place to take children fishing. Kokanee were planted in Camanche in 1994 and 1995 and fish up to 17 inches are just now starting to be caught on a regular basis.

A daily fishing access pass is required (in addition to a state fishing license, to fish in either the main lake or the trout pond) All of the fishing access funds are used to purchase fish for stocking the lake and pond.

Tips for Cool-Weather Fishing

  • As the days cool off, less recreational boat activities, like jet skiing, means more room for anglers.
  • Bluegill will be found all over the lake near brush piles and cover. Fish a little deeper for larger bluegill.
  • Trout plants begin trout should begin to come more towards the surface, especially as we get into November.
  • Stinky baits can still scare up catfish in coves. Be patient.
  • Bass and sunfish action will start to fade but may still be found  in areas with good cover and in the mornings or evenings.
  • Check with the marina staff for knowledgeable advice.

Lake Chabot   

Lake Chabot trolling in the Spring is one of the most productive ways to catch trout. There are many different methods and different lures for trolling. One of the most basic, but still very productive ways, is to troll a nightcrawler behind a set of flashers. Use a ball bearing swivel above you flashers and 18 to 20 inches of leader between your flashers and your nightcrawler.

Another productive trout trolling method is to use a rainbow trout patterned lure such as a Rapala. Let your lure out about 75 feet with no weight on the line. If you get a hit, be sure to double back over that spot for a second shot at what could be a school of trout. Top trout trolling sports at Chabot are Half Moon Day, Bass Cove, The Dam, Coot Landing and Alder Point.

Bait fishing is also a popular method for catching trout at Chabot. Use a sliding-sinker-rig with a small treble hook for Power Bait or for nightcrawlers use a size 6 or size 8 snelled hook. This same rig works well for catfish with a much larger hook, try a size 1 or size 2, and chicken liver, anchovies or mackerel. Honker Bay and around the Island are great spots to try for catfish during the summer months.

  • Fish early in the morning these months to take advantage of the increasingly good trout fishing. Regular trout plants should help to boost the action.
  • Catfish can still be found behind the Island, as well as in coves. Use mackerel or anchovies for best results.
  • Dough baits are the best bet for trout fisherman. Experiment with colors
    like chartreuse and white.
  • Broken back Rapalas in greenish colors are great for trollers. Use sizes
    that can take you between 15-25 feet.
  • Take advantage of limited crowds and boat specials during the week.

Los Vaqueros Reservoir

Los Vaqueros Reservoir opened for fishing in 2002. This continuously evolving fishery is helped along by regular plants of rainbow trout. Game fish species include: King Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Black Bass, Redear Sunfish, Bluegill Sunfish, Green Sunfish, Sacramento Perch, Striped Bass, Channel Catfish and Bullhead.

  • Trout fishing stays good even throughout the summer months, but is best in fall, winter, and spring.
  • Chartreuse dough baits or night crawlers are far and away the best for bait fisherman. Trout power worms also take lots of trout. Oak Point, the Rock Wall, and the South Cove are consistently the best places for trout action.
  • Trollers will find action in Peninsula Cove, as well as along the eastern shore line. A variety of lures will be effective. Trolling dodgers & nightcrawlers is also effective.
  • Don't count out the striper bite as it regularly surprises anglers at different times throughout the year.

Catfish over 20 lbs are regularly caught from June through October. Chicken liver, cut baits & nightcrawlers all work well.

Striped bass provide solid action for bait fisherman as well as trollers. Rattle traps are a favourite of anglers.

Norcalfishing.com and Urban Park Concessionaires recognize the threat that invasive aquatic species such as Quagga and Zebra mussels represent to California. We are committed to stopping the spread through partnership with our agencies, inspection and education. For more information on Quagga and Zebra mussels, and what you can do to help, please visit our mussel information page.

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