Big Trout Take Over at Collins Lake

It has been a notable end of April at Collins Lake. We responded to quickly rising surface temperatures by increasing the cadence of our trout plants. Where we had mostly scheduled 1000 pound trout plants in March, our schedule is now filled with 2000 pound plants including lots of trophy fish. This in addition to accelerated net pen releases has lead to a late spring dominated by rainbow trout and besieged by giants!

Apologies to those who limited on good sized fish – this report will be dedicated to 5 pounds and up. To start things off Bob Chappell and his buddy from Penn Valley (above) caught these 8 fish, including that 6 pounder glaring into the camera lens. While many folks are trolling these guys caught their fish mostly on yellow PowerBait from the shore.

Brandon Redburn from Las Vegas was feeling lucky dropping PowerBait on 4lb test monofilament, and managed to walk away with a nearly 6lb trout caught by the dam!

John Carvajal was trolling a fly along the main channel between the island and the marina where he brought in this massive 8.8 pound rainbow trout! What a beauty!

Lloyd Burl of Olivehurst (above, left) caught his 6 pound trout trolling flashers w/worms while Doug Wittler (above, right) caught a 7 3/4 pound lunker using a “special lure”.

Jennifer & Samantha from Hollister, CA absolutely loaded up fishing the far side of the lake (likely the east side south of the islands) with lures. Well done you two!

David from Penn Valley caught a chunky 5.5 pound trout as part of his limit fishing from shore. While Jesse Castellanos & Pat Ellsworth caught their monster on nightcrawlers by the dam.

Ron & Joe Felter put four on the brag board including a 5 1/2 pound trout caught trolling using Rainbow Rapalas. Jack Sarafian from Fresno brought in a limit centered on a 5.75lb Rainbow Trout using green PowerBait from shore just north of the beach.

And we’ll finish off this list of giant trout with Art Stufflebeam of Sacramento, who reeled in this massive 9 pound rainbow trout trolling a dynamic lure along the main channel just north of the islands. Just look at the size of that tail and gut, what a brute!

As I mentioned at the beginning of April, it’s an interesting year for bass, we saw quite a bit of early activity in the first two weeks of April. Warmer than usual water temperatures, I believe, have pushed the bass to bed down. The low lake level (as of this this writing below 35′ from full) means that bass can be (must be) found in places other than the usual haunts. While the first half of April we saw bass in the pro-spawn gorging on trout bait, in the last half of the month I don’t think I’ve seen a single bass caught while fishing for trout. On the contrary, once they settle in to spawn bass typically don’t hunt, they stay on the beds fasting and protecting. That in mind, even a fasting bass will defend their territorytry dropping a crawdad in and see what happens!

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