Monday, March 3, 2014

The $87.00 Rainbow Trout

There was a lull in the storms this morning which gave me a chance to get out of the house and wet a line. I had several options and this is how they broke out. Keep in mind it's been raining off and on for days.

Lake Pardee: I haven't been out there this year, but on opening day this guy caught this Rainbow. Turned out to be 16 1/2 pound lake record. Here is my take, if you look at the tail, I doubt it put up much of a fight and since they stocked right before opening day February 14th, this sucker must have slipped into the stock truck.  

16 1/2 Pound Rainbow
Since it was supposed to rain by Noon and I didn't have a handle on this lake, I passed. 

Lake Amador: I wanted to fish this with the Float Tube Cumberland, but with rain due shortly, passed on this one until another time.

New Melones: Too far to drive for a short time to fish. Passed here to, so that left Lake Camanche. As you know, I've not had much luck at Camanche the last six times I've been there so with no expectations I wandered out there after a coffee stop at Starbucks in town. 

At check-in I asked if anyone has been catching anything from the shore. I know the guys in the boats have been doing fairly well. They said a few here and there on garlic Power  Bait.

This is what the lake looked like when I got there.


Across and to the right

To the left, up the shore
The biggest part of the ground at the North Shore Day Use Area is made up of rocks and clay. With all the recent rain, you might as well have been walking on ice. I found a spot (actually I was the only one out there) by the double buoys and carefully threaded my way down to the edge only slipping four or five times. Nothing serious though. Did have a lot of clay caked on my sneakers.

I started with two rods with rainbow Power Bait. Half hour later changed them to one with RPB & garlic and the other with RPB & sweet corn.

An hour later I pulled in the one with sweet corn and worked all my colors of Kastmasters and the 1/4 oz. Magic Bullet. Nothing.

Put both back out with just plain rainbow PB, but one out about 15 feet and the other as far as I could toss it. It actually landed even with the buoy which is about 100 feet out.

Finally at 11:15 the one at 15 feet got a hit. I was so shocked that I slipped getting up from the red Coleman camping chair and almost fell into the lake.

I put it on the stringer long enough for a quick photo and then back into the lake. Seems a little extreme, but once it got into the water it was gone in a shot. No harm, no foul.  

Pound +
Which brings me to the title of this post. I've been skunked the last 6 times out here and at $12.50 for the entry fee, it comes to a little over $87.00 for this one fish. It's unfortunate that we have to pay to fish, but all the downcountry lakes are run by companies like East Bay MUD (Camanche and Pardee) and Amador by Lake Amador Resort. New Melones is a Bureau of Reclamation lake and I can use my Geezer pass, but I use up $12.00 in gas getting there or we don't fish. 

A little before Noon the storm was looming on the horizon. It got windy, colder, and I could hear thunder in the distance so I decided at 12:30 to pack it up and head home. 

Here comes the storm
So the Camanche skunk is finally gone and I'll probably be meeting Yuki and Jim at New Melones on Wednesday, if it's not raining that is. 


  1. Pay to fish? Wow does the $$ go towards conservation/lake ?

    1. The $12.50 is broken out as $7.50 as park entrance fee and $5.00 to fish. The $5.00 is used to restock the fish. They stock trout in the winter and Bass, Crappie, and Catfish in the warmer months. The $7.50 is park maintenance. Mostly the same at all the lakes.

  2. Fishing those lakes: $87.00. Catching one trout: Priceless.

  3. Love Jim's comment! That is an expensive trout. However, I am sure you take into account the scenery and the time spent outdoors in beautiful areas and the fresh air when you budget your time and costs of fishing.

  4. Very expensive trout! That's quite pricey for an entry fee, but hey, if you love it there, then why not!

  5. At $87.00 for that one fish, I would have at least had dinner!

  6. Forgive me for sounding dense but could you explain the entry fee on that and surrounding lakes? Are they private? Here we pay for a fishing licence and they for state parks you have to pay a fee but you can just pay $19 for a car pass and you are good for the year.

    1. Camanche and Pardee are owned by EBMUD (East Bay Municipal District) for water storage for the Bay area. The $7.50 is used for upkeep of the "park" if you will. The other $5.00 is used toward planting more fish. Amador is privately owned and they use the fee (which is a lot more [$17.00] that C & P) to maintain not only the "park" but the fish hatchery. They raise Donaldson Trout or Cutbow for planting in the lake. New Melones charges $8.00 entrance and fishing, but if you're over 62 you can get a Geezer pass for $10.00 and it lasts a lifetime, how ever long that is. The Geezer pass works at all Federal parks. Example: Camping at Hope Valley, $16.00 per night per space. With the Geezer pass it's $8.00. Different lake, different regulations. Email me at if you need more.

  7. Mark
    First off glad you guys are finally getting some rain, second I don't mind paying a fee to fish especially if you can land 15" trout and third I hope you get back to the tube soon, I think that is where you are going land some super size trout. Thanks for sharing

  8. Gotta pay to play a lot of the time! l now have four state licenses... MT, ID, WY and UT. It is way worth the price. Glad you got that skunk off... now go relax and find some more purdy bows... = )

  9. Disneyland charges $92.00 to enter these days! (When Walt Disney first opens it it was $1.00 so that all the children rich and poor could enjoy the park.)
    Lake Cammanche is far better and happier place on earth than those Disneylands.