By: Troy Barr - published on the Pautzke Website
Berryessa is full right now. It’s been spilling for more than 50 days. This hasn’t happened in a decade. We are excited. You’re going to be able to fish places we haven’t fished in 10 years. There are old humps, canyons and canals where we haven’t had any water in ages. Now that they’ve been flooded fishing is going to be incredible. Ten years ago when this happened the trout and kokanee bite was phenomenal. Even in the drought the trout bite has been awesome. Now it’s just going to get better because there’s more oxygen in the water, which makes the trout more active.
The bite hasn’t exploded yet, but it’s on the verge. There’s been a lot of north wind lately and cold fronts, which has hurt the bite, but once pressure stabilizes it’s going to be game on. We are going to be able to catch Eagle Lake rainbows from the surface on down 45 feet and up to five pounds. We fished these rainbows through August last year so there’s a large window ahead of us. As soon as the weather stabilizes we are going to blow the ice chest off.
The high water opens up more opportunity. It gives us a whole new world to fish. These trout are more structure fish. You find a good underwater point or a flat that drops off into something and you are going to catch fish. The lake is full of trout. What’s special about the lake is the California Inland Fisheries Foundation has done a great job pen raising large trout. They put in thousands of one-pound fish into pens, feed them so they grow and then let them go in the spring. But when they let them go they are anywhere from two to three pounds. A second year fish is probably three to five pounds. Last year we caught eight or nine that were over five pounds.
I’ll be trolling spoons and mini Brad’s Killer Fish on structure. Chrome, orange and blue tend to be the best producers. I’m trolling about 2-2.5 mph to get bit and doing a lot of zigzagging. We tip everything with Red Fire Corn and have for a few years. Some of the Fire Corn is mixed with Fire Power (krill), and Pautzke Red Nectar, but I’m also using fresh herring oil and garlic that I buy in the grocery store. Even the straight Red Fire Corn works, but red is the hot color on this lake, at least for the rainbows. Tip your lures and you’ll catch more fish.