Fall Camping & Catfish

Autumn has arrived and with the very welcome coming of the first rains the air is clean an clear just in time for the leaves to turn. The lake is currently at a historic low level, only a few feet above the 1977 level, but the main irrigation season has ended and after the last rain we are up 0.5 inches. It usually takes 5 or six inches before we start benefiting from the runoff of the 200 square mile watershed so keep praying for rain- we have about 76 vertical feet left to fill the lake to capacity.

The muddy shoreline and limited lake volume have made fishing a mixed bag. To be fair normally we’d be planting trout this time of year, but with shoreline access difficult and surface temperatures just now dropping below 65F we expect to push fall plants to springtime. Still the silty mud has some advantages; October has seen some big catfish including the 7.3 pound fish Mikeal Egan & Carly Randall caught using a Rat-L-Trap on the east side of the lake (left). Terry Schober of Santa Clara caught a very long catfish using Powerworms. It seems to be staring him down at the scales where it weighed in at 6 3/4lbs.

There have been several stories of very big catfish, mostly caught in the mud from kayaks, but the biggest one to hit the bragboard so far this month was caught by Rolando Arroyo of Antioch using anchovies down by the main marina. This lunker weighted in at a hulking 13.25 pounds.

There is also some decent bass and redear activity- you will see them jumping anywhere from the exposed tailings at the north end right down to the rocks at the dam. Although they stir the water, getting them to bite this time of year can be a challenge. The launch ramps are still closed, inaccessible due to mud and an insufficient slope. We are using the opportunity to clean up and gravel the exposed workable parts. Hopefully we won’t see these levels too often!

You can still drop a kayak in or hand launch a small boat and I can almost guarantee you’ll have the lake to yourself. We have been able to keep the rental dock accessible by gravel path so you can still rent fishing boats and pontoon boats. Keep an eye out for sunny days with low winds and you’ll be in for a treat.

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