Second summer holiday weekend could be a busy one

By: George deVilbiss
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Storms have ceased and the weather has warmed.


With the looming Fourth of July holiday, expect roads to be crowded as weekend campers and daily recreationists alike all head for their favored waterside areas.


There could be a potential holiday weekend problem at Folsom Lake that has not been experienced for a while. The good news is that the lake is just about rim full. The bad news part of that is the higher water conditions have covered areas where visitors to the lake have routinely parked.


In years past, pre-drought, when Folsom Lake was regularly full, park staff pretty much knew how many visitors that particular area of the park could accommodate and, when that number was reached, no new arrivals would be admitted until somebody else left.


There’s a good chance that practice will again be in effect for this holiday weekend at popular places like Granite Bay, Beal’s Point, Brown’s Ravine and Rattlesnake Bar. Which means, if you want to ensure you have a place to play at Folsom Lake, the solution is simple: leave home and arrive at the lake early.


Just about all higher-elevation campgrounds will be packed with almost all the snow gone, except for the tops of some higher elevations. Not all campsites can be reserved with some being held back for first-come, first-served, which means you need to arrive early to grab one.


Camp Far West will undoubtedly be full to the brim as will most of the foothill lakes. You can day use all you want at Lake Camanche but can’t stay the night and camp without advanced reservations.


For the most part, fishing will not be a top priority of many waterside visitors. Water recreation will be.



Most streams and rivers are still running high from snow melt, which means the water is also colder than it’s been at this time of year. And that colder temperature water is definitely affecting the fishing success where some of that run-off winds up.


S.F. Bay: The halibut bite all around the bay is definitely worth the trip. Stripers aren’t yet red hot but that should only be a couple weeks away. Drifting live bait throughout all the favorite areas have been producing good catches of the California “butts” – the large Berkeley Flats area, Crissy Field, Angel Island and even as far east as Red Rock near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. When the striper bite really turns on, look for the rocky areas around Alcatraz to be a hot spot along with the Rockpile just north of the island, and I’ve also done well in the area just west of the old ruins of the Berkeley pier.


Ocean Salmon: There is no one place in offshore waters where there is a red-hot salmon bite. Just about all the ports will experience a good day with limits to near limits, and days when it’s pretty much a scratch bite. Not-so-good days will include about one-half of a fish per rod average, which might be okay if you happen to be one of the anglers catching a fish. On a better day, if there are the numbers in that area, it could be limits to near limits. And what where, is totally unpredictable.


Camp Far West: Bass fishing can be good in places like Rock Creek and areas around the main body of the lake, but it’s been tough fishing in the Bear River arm as the water is considerably colder there. Look for spots up to 15 inches as they hammer plastics. Both crappie and bluegill are being found tight into structure.


Collins Lake: Boaters doing better than the shore slingers only because the water is warming driving the fish deeper but even from the popular campground area closer to the dam, some anglers are still putting three trout on the stringer. If you’re trolling, use the downriggers and get down as much as 40 feet. For the kids, head to the grassy or brushy shoreline areas. The ‘gills are biting grubs and worms. Bass and catfish pretty much round out the catching.


Hell Hole Reservoir: Now this is one lake that probably won’t receive a lot of attention for the holiday weekend. First of all, the lake’s campground, except for the boat-in campground at the upper end of the lake, is not near the lake. Head to the upper end of the lake, where the Rubicon River enters the lake, and there are browns up to 18 inches grabbing Rapalas. There are also small rainbows and kokanee to be taken.


Folsom Lake: Fishing will be terrible over the holiday weekend as water recreationists will pretty much dominate the water. Once the traffic seriously decreases, there will be bass to be taken. Early, early mornings, toss topwater gear. Cranks and jerkbaits will also work early. Once the sun really hits the water, the bass drop deeper so you’ll need to switch over to drop-shots and jigs.


Lake Almanor: I haven’t seen this lake this full in a lot of years. Where I stay, the water level is at the very top of the boat launch. Thoughts are that there’s so much natural feed still washing into the lake that the salmon, rainbows and browns are mostly ignoring what you’re pulling.

Also, I’m not seeing large clouds of the lake’s infamous forage fish, the Japanese Pond Smelt. In three days of fishing, recently, I managed a total of five fish: two king salmon, one rainbow trout, and two brown trout, the largest hitting 3 1/2 pounds, all taking a trolled night crawler along the east side of the lake.


Loon Lake: The road is open to the lake and the launch ramp is open for use. Boaters taking advantage of this lake that’s now accessible are having great catching success. Hauling a two-inch grub, down no more than 8-10 feet, will get you regularly bit on rainbows running about 14 inches. Start early and you can have a limit about as fast as you can reel them in.


Any questions, comments or concerns, contact George at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM.