Planning a trip to NorCal in March

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5-20
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Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:00 am

Wondering if you guys can help me map some things out. I'm down in San Diego and need to take a break from those tiny ponds we have around here...! :D Planning on towing the boat up to NorCal during March 20-29.

I have these lakes on my dream list: New Melones (and maybe don pedro), Clear Lake, Berryessa and Bullards Bar.

I'm still not sure whether I want to try to hit 3 or 4 of those lakes, even if the driving time involved in doing that would eat into a bit of fishing, or focus on fishing two (or maybe 3) of those lakes hard and hopefully dialing things in over the second or third day.

New Melones can be done easily enough since I'll pass it on the way up and down. Clear Lake is pretty much a must. I have a friend who loves Berryessa and we'll probably hook up and fish that lake for a day or two.

Here's the thing, tho. I've never caught a huge spot and I would love, love and love to fish Bullards Bar. All of the videos I've seen of the lake makes the place look absolutely amazing and I think it'd be totally awesome fishing the lake. But boy, it's waaay up there, and from what I understand, once you get into that area, it's pretty mountainous and it's not just a quick and easy drive to/from that lake to the other lakes I would want to go. The round trip drive alone might eat up close to a day.

Let me mention that I love fishing swimbaits, and if I could get on a cool swimbait bite that'd be fantastic, but that's not necessarily a must. I also have a ton of fun powerfishing. Also, quite honestly, I'd probably prefer fishing hard and sticking only one or two big fish over the whole week over than catching a bunch of five pounders. (unless those fives are spots)

Thoughts about doing this trip would be really appreciated. I'll probably want to camp out most of the time so if you have any recommendations about campsites around any of those lakes, that'd be great.

Thanks!
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Roscoe
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Roscoe » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:44 am

All those are great but you gotta fish the delta. You'll be headed up I 5 do when you get into stockton take the March Kane exit head west and you'll run right into ladds. Give the delta a shot for sure.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Roscoe » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:47 am

March lane sorry not Kane. Hit the delta, clear lake then Melonies and that would be a great trip now. Good luck

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby VJ » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:50 am

id spend half time at Delta and other half at Clearlake
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:56 pm

Hmmmm.... the delta, huh? Oh boy... very tempting... but I'm a little hesitant about doing that because fishing tidal waters isn't one of my real strengths and from what I've read about the delta, the fish are typically in the same areas year in/year out and if you're not in one of those areas, it can be pretty difficult to find these fish.

Also a little afraid of tearing up my boat!

Gonna have to think about that a little more.
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Roscoe
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Roscoe » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:37 pm

You gotta fish it at least once if your driving up here. Give randy Pringle a call and he will lead you in the right direction. Read all the fishing reports and call a few guides besides Pringle. The delta experience is awesome and the bass are big and mean green. You'll be mad if you don't give it a shot I'm telling you. There's a reason the elites are coming out here, cause it's bad a@@. Good luck and travel safe. Feel free to PM me and I can line you up with either I or a fishing buddy to meet you there and show you some good areas to hit up.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:39 pm

Roscoe wrote:You gotta fish it at least once if your driving up here. Give randy Pringle a call and he will lead you in the right direction. Read all the fishing reports and call a few guides besides Pringle. The delta experience is awesome and the bass are big and mean green. You'll be mad if you don't give it a shot I'm telling you. There's a reason the elites are coming out here, cause it's bad a@@. Good luck and travel safe. Feel free to PM me and I can line you up with either I or a fishing buddy to meet you there and show you some good areas to hit up.


Oh man, thanks. That's really cool! Appreciate it!
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Tin Can
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Tin Can » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:44 pm

Might as well hit Don Pedro and Melones, they are really close to each other.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby M3AN Bass » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:52 pm

I second the Delta notion. Obviously drive your boat carefully, but Don't let the Delta intimidate you. If you have GPS and a reliable boat you'll be just fine. Plus you you could hook into some good linesides! I'd just concentrate on Clear Lake and the Delta, unless you really want some spots and smallies then throw Berryessa on the list as well. I live in Sonoma County and fish all these waters frequently, I'm sure you'll have a blast.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Doug Warren » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:07 pm

Yep..I head straight for Clear lake and never look back

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Gary Dobyns
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Gary Dobyns » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:14 pm

You can't go wrong that time of year. All the Northern lakes will be fishing very well. The Delta is really worth a day or two. Berryessa is fishing very well and I believe its probably our best lake in the north state right now. Yes, Clear Lake is a must stop and really fishing strong right now. Bullards is best spotted bass fishery ...PERIOD!! But it's taking a clubbing and it's a small lake. If you're looking for a giant spot...no place is better but it's not kicking out the numbers as in years past. Folsom is great this time of year as well and it has giants in it too. Lots of choices...all good ones the end of March.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby mark poulson » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:23 am

Sounds like you're gonna need a bigger.....vacation. :lol:
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:37 am

mark poulson wrote:Sounds like you're gonna need a bigger.....vacation. :lol:


Haha, yep!!! Now not only am I feeling like I can't miss out on any of the lakes I listed, I also gotta figure out how to fit the delta in there, too!!!

This is exactly why I envy those people who only need 4-5 hours of sleep on a regular basis. That'd translate into like a couple extra days of fishing during my trip!
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby zdbm2004 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:33 am

I just came back from Clear Lake over the weekend and I stayed at the state park in kelseyville. First time in 20 years and it was nice (staying at the SP). Charging stations, nice facilities, boat slips, and launch ramp. Watch out for ticks in the campsites though. My dog got em. Berryessa has Steele Park and Putah Creek which I haven't been to in a while. berryessa will be going off at that time and you'll have a better chance at getting a 5 lber of each species. Figure you'll be on the road for at least 2 days to travel to each of your choice bodies of water. Optimize your time by fishing pedro or Melones for 2 days then head to "Wine Country" for the rest. Have fun!!
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Roscoe
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Roscoe » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:41 pm

Man you sure got a lot of feedback. That's what's so awesome about WB, other anglers are willing and ready to help out fellow anglers. You have a very good of variety of bodies of water to fish up here, you can't go wrong with or wherever you fish. I'd do delta and clear lake 2 days each and do one other body of water for some nice spots. I've never fished berryeassa but man I hear a lot of good things about it. Take some pics of your trip and post them and let us all see your catches.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby phoneman » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:54 pm

I'am usually a lurker on here but after reading this post I figured i give my 2 cents. I live close and fish both Melones & Pedro often. I've been on Melones 9 times in the past 3 weeks , Having said that I usually fish McClure mostly because i don't fish tourneys and the spots for me are easier to catch and its closer than Melones. Since McClure has no water I've been forced to fish Melones & Pedro. Pedro is the bigger of the 2 lakes and I always find myself fishing the middle of the lake (middle bay) or the farthest end (woods&Moccasin). So you will definitely burn alot more gas at Pedro or you can choose to fish close and fish the Rogers arm or big creek witch are close to the launch ramp. both lakes are deep canyon lakes at that time they should be shallow your bigger fish are the largemouth(Pedro) there are spots and smallies in the lake. Now Melones with the water level right now I always joke and say it was a friday lake its full of trees right now (tackle eater!!!!). Your chances of catching big spots and largemouth are at Melones.I also fish the delta but mostly in the summer I either do ok or it chews me up and spits me out. Also what are your strength as a fisherman i.e. are you a jig fisherman,swimbait guy.....shallow water, deep water, offshore.....Hope this helps.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Bayarea-bassin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:06 pm

If I were you I would start at Clearlake since it's the farthest and work your way back. I've stayed at Clearlake state park a couple times. Good facilities

Here's a link to make a reservation.
http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/c ... kId=120019

I like to stay at site 58 you can park your boat right in front of the campsite and use a portable generator to charge it. But if you don't have a generator you will have to charge it in the parking lot by launch area. It's also convenient to go back to the campsite to make lunch or take a short nap and head out for the evening bite.

Then I would hit Berryessa and delta and head home.

Or you could choose between the two and then hit up melones as your last stop before heading south. Only problem with going to clearlake first is you might not ever want to leave!!! =)

Good luck!!!

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:05 pm

Guys, really appreciate all of the info and tips!!!! Really helping me a ton!!!

Phoneman, yeah, I love swimbaits, jigs, pitching and topwaters but I'll also mess around with whatever else I think might work for the conditions if that's cranking, throwing plastics or anything related to some type of power fishing.

The only thing I really kinda can't do very much of is finesse fishing. :D
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby phoneman » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:02 am

If you like throwing Swimbaits then between Melones&Pedro......I will tell you I'am not a swimbait guy but from what I hear Melones is the place. FYI also the only ramp open at Melones is Glory Hole. Pedro only Flemming Medows. Any more Questions Email me @ F250bass@gmail.com. If you decide to come this way I can have more info for you as your trip gets closer. (Fyi Since you like reaction just thought I'd tell you they are chomping a Blade already)

Chris.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:26 am

Chris, and all of the other guys that have shared info/tips. Thanks so much. Truly appreciated. Hoping it turns out to be a totally fantastic vacation and that i'll have something decent to report/post when i come back down!!!

Just went back and reread the part about "charging stations" at the clear lake state park. How exactly does that work? A ton of outlets? No worries about all of the outlets filling up or anything like that? Just unhook the boat and leave it there overnight? Safe/secure enough? Just wondering because i've seen some comments in the past about how the area around clear lake can be rather "iffy" sometimes.

Again, thanks everyone!!!
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby zdbm2004 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:59 am

The charging stations are in the boat launch parking lot. There are some camping sites right there but when I was up over the weekend they didn't have anyone in that area camping. I think you have to pay 5$ a day not sure though. The Rangers are around the facilities constantly so I wouldn't worry too much about your stuff.
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby whazup » Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:04 pm

Curious as to how you pass close to Melones going from San Diego to the other places you mentioned.
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:13 pm

whazup wrote:Curious as to how you pass close to Melones going from San Diego to the other places you mentioned.


Looks like NM is about 50-60 miles out of the way?
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Roscoe » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:28 pm

New melonies is east of I 5 highway, you hit the delta first since that's your first closest place to fish. After that you can head east on highway 4 I believe and go to melonies. After that head north towards clear lake. Now after clear lake when you head back down south either hit berryeassa or the delta again on your way down. That's just my opion but It seems you wanna fish melonies which is a great choice but do yourself a favor and hit the delta right out the gate. You'll take I 5 north and take the March lane exit and head west and boom your at ladds, not out of your way one bit.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Roscoe » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:29 pm

That's a lot of fishing my friend and I take it your more than likely not married, lol. Travel safe

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby Turkeyman » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:30 pm

Melones will give you a great chance at a big spot,(current world record was caught there last year), and big largemouth. Its only about 1 1/2 hours to the Delta from there. If the Delta is not working out for you, then your only 2 to 3 hrs from Clear Lake. Seriously Clear Lake is a must, that should be your #1 destination. If you decide to go to Melones let me know and I will give you as much current info as I can. I myself would just go spend a week at Clear Lake, but thats me.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby whazup » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:04 pm

5-20 wrote:
whazup wrote:Curious as to how you pass close to Melones going from San Diego to the other places you mentioned.


Looks like NM is about 50-60 miles out of the way?


I guess "close" is relative. At your closest point you will be about 1 1/2 hours from Melones. Agree with those who recommend the Delta. If you continue north on I 5 to 8 Mile Rd, turn left (west), go to 1st bridge and turn left (south) again, you will come to Paradise Point. You are in great fishing water when your boat touches the water.
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:20 pm

Hmm, you know, obviously everyone's gonna have an opinion about this, but I'm starting to think that I might just forgo the delta, at least this time. It just seems like too much of a hit or miss thing for me, especially with the other lakes in the area. I suppose I could spend just one day at the delta, but I'm kinda leaning towards saving that for another time and doing this type of schedule:

Drive straight to berry and get there fri evening. Prob fish berry sat/sun and leave for clear lake around sun evening or monday am depending on how good the fishing is. Fish the whole week at CL, up until thurs or fri and then head down to NM on fri or saturday.

Or: Drive straight to cl, fish sat-wed, come down to berry, fish berry maybe on wed or thurs/fri and then head over to NM for a day of fishing.

Dang... this is getting complicated. You guys have way too many incredible lakes up there!!!!!! :D :D :D
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby kraetzer » Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:56 pm

In case you have any doubts about berryessa, just heard that the day one leader of the ctt has 31lbs with a 12lb largemouth and a 7lb smallmouth :shock: !!!
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby ripb8t » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:17 am

Keep in mind, towing from SD to Clearlake is a long haul. Plan on 12-13hr road trip with fuel and breaks. Thats leaving SD at midnight and no LA traffic :shock:. Trust me i do it 2-3x a year. Delta and Berryessa will both be about 9-11hr haul. I would recommend fishing Delta first for a few days. Shorter drive than Clearlake. Then Berryessa, and up to Clearlake. Also, CTT will be having their Clearlake tournament the last weekend of March. Make sure you check your tire psi during your rest breaks. Have a safe and fun trip. :D

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:39 pm

Thanks, rip. Sometimes it's easy for me to forget about or underestimate the nightmare that's composed of driving through la. Might be able to crash at a buddy's place just above la thurs night and have a much easier drive fri.

You guys are still going strong on me fishing the delta tho, eh?! :D :D Hmm, maybe just one day. :D
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BigJeff
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby BigJeff » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:31 am

I've only fished the Delta twice, both tournaments with extensive pre-fishing, I wouldn't drive past that place towing a boat and not fish it. Its full of monster bass and there's nothing else in our state like it. If you're going to bypass the Delta, I would recommend a future trip just to fish the Delta. Such an awesome and diverse fishery.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby philip garcia » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:30 am

I would pass on the Delta it is a great fishery but it takes a lot of knowledge to know where to go and when to go there you can't look at a map and figure out where you should fish on the delta. the lakes on the other hand you can look at a map and see the good points the good flats and things like that and if you've never fished tidal waters it'll even be more of a struggle for you to figure it out in such a short time.Berryessa is the best lake in Northern California right now I've been saying that for a couple years the tournament this weekend was a tougher bite than usual but the time frame that you're coming up is prime time the spots on that lake are gigantic most people don't think of it as a huge spotted bass lake but I've weighed in spotted bass over 7 pounds on that lake I also weighed in a 5 pound spot the same day I weighed in the 12 pound largemouth and seven pound smallmouth. you have a chance at all three on that lake. Also the 12 pounder was my only large mouth in that bag.something else you should keep in mind clearlake is off limits to the people fishing the CTT tournament Monday Tuesday and Wednesday of the week you are here so the lake will have a little less traffic on it those days.no matter where you decide to go I think you will hit Northern California on the best week of the year.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby medfish » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:43 am

Just another thought. Any scenario that doesn't put you on clear lake that time of year on the weekend will be the best one. Sometimes that place can fish a little small. (Wind and what not). Berry and NM may be more enjoyable on weekends during that time. The delta is it's own sweet beast Zero one day 20 the next. If your not committed to her she will not show you her bounty.... Cause in her belly lay the treasures few have ever seen...

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:45 pm

Ahh, thanks for the input, Philip. And congrats on that awesome sack. Bet all of us would love to see a pix of your fish from last weekend!

Medfish, that was something I actually wondered about earlier -- whether clear lake fishes small as a lot of those bowl shaped lakes typically tend to. Seems like maybe I'll just hit berry first and depending on how enamored I become with the lake, possibly hit it again on my way down.

Any thoughts about whether the steele creek or putah canyon campground (or any other campground on the water) would be better to stay at?

How rough does the lake get, tho? I'm fishing out of a 17'6 Skeeter SS140 with a 115 Opti and it has a shallow hull, and I guess you could say it's not exactly the best rough water rig. I'm not really as worried about Berryessa as I am about getting caught out at clear lake.

Really, on both lakes, what type of wind should I keep an eye out for?

Thanks, really appreciate all of the advice!
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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby medfish » Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:26 pm

The simple answer is if fishing south lauch south and it fishing north end launch north lake. Coming through that narrow area is the reason they make 21 foot bass boats. I would stay away from any eastside launches on the north end for reasons of the wind. State park very safe and protected most of the time. Clearlake outdoors is a must stop Great group of guys there. If you stay at the casino clean rooms, power. good rates Really recharges you after 3 or 4 nights in the back of the truck... Ten mins from state park

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby M3AN Bass » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:45 am

I fish out of my 2007 Stratos 176xt w/75HP Evinrude. Pretty similar hull to your Skeeter. I've seen very rough days on both Clearlake and Berryessa, 4-5 foot rollers have had me clearing the prop from the water many times. Days that bad aren't too often. Berryessa has tons of creek arms and coves to offer shelter Clearlake has less. If it's bad at Berryessa launch from Capel Cove and avoid the Putah Creek launch, it can get hairy with rough water. Either way your boat should handle them just fine.

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Re: Planning a trip to NorCal in March

Postby 5-20 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:48 am

Thanks, guys. Appreciate the advice! Yep, the night at the casino sounds good. Maybe even pop a quarter in a slot machine and come away with a little extra money for some more swimbaits. :) Nah, not me. I've never been much of a gambler.
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