It’s rare at Collins Lake for catfish to steal the headlines but this time it is very well deserved. Hilario Sandoval of Vacaville is a long time Collins Lake fisherman, who saw all the recent catfish and decided he had to get up here and get a line in the water right away. Tuesday August 27th, he sat out in front of Campsite #116, hook baited with chicken liver. Around 9pm there was a tug at line, and on the other end was this humongous catfish, which topped out our calibrated scale. By the time we got a bigger scale on site the fish was gutted and cleaned.
I know it’s always a point of contention, guessing at weights, but I’d put this one at no less than 28 pounds, which would have been a lake record had we gotten an official weight. Sandoval’s penchant for catching catfish isn’t just a matter of dumb luck, the next night he caught two more whiskerfish, 3.5 & 7.5lbs, but the biggest one of all will remain the stuff of legend & lore…. how much do you think it weighs?
The day Hilario left Vinny Simpson of Santa Rosa cast some chicken liver much further north near campsite #488 and caught a 10.5 pounder. The day after that, friends Pepe, Giovani & Ricardo from Oroville caught a pair of six pound catfish on worms way out on the east side. Moments later Justin from Sacramento showed us a cat caught on worms up at the bridge.
Other notables include Cesar Sanchez’s 9lb catfish caught on redworms near the beach and Kelly Cutler’s 8.25 pound fish caught around the same area on pink PowerBait, both caught this last Saturday. Seems the catfish are everywhere.
While catfish have certainly topped the list we’ve also seen a jump in bass activity with lots of catch & release out near the dam and in coves on top water lures as well as rubber worms and live crawdads. Of the fish that were kept we got a picture of Greg Hauglin from Roseville with a five and a quarter pound spot caught from a kayak with a rat-tail and Gurdit of Lincoln who caught 3 bass near the dam on Rapalas.
Trout typically take a break this time of year and I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t slower than spring and early summer but even so there’s still a consistent catch coming in and quite a number of larger rainbows reeled in each week. Lucas Alves was one of the few to limit out, and he did so trolling near the dam 40ft down, which is probably still the best strategy until the lake turns.
Jacson, Marquez and Jacob from Natomas caught four smaller trout near the dam on nightcrawlers before landing a beautiful 7 pound rainbow. Megan & Justin Cisneros were all smiles catching a pair of rainbow trout, the first on a Orange Jig/Dodger combo and the second trolling about 20ft deep with a fire tiger Rapala. Finally Gabriel Maillend caught a 5.125lb trout on chartreuse PowerBait right in front of campsite #396.
Among the catfish, bass & trout there’s been a smattering of smaller panfish making for a diverse pool of opportunity for anyone coming up to enjoy this quieter season. Surface temperatures have just now dropped below 80F and the lake is still only 18ft from spill.
I know I’m a broken record on this but you can’t beat weekday camping this time of year- it’s cooler than August but daytimes still reach the 80’s and Monday-Friday most of the campground is empty. Take time off and relax in a season that’s actually relaxing!
If you can’t escape for an overnight getaway at least stop by for Ice Cream & Espresso and maybe throw a line in the water, you know, until just after sunset :)
See you up here soon, Ed