There's never been a better time for spring fishing in California, so grab your favorite rod and reel and hit the water! Here are the places you won't want to miss.
Diamond Valley Reservoir
This 4,500-acre lake has earned a well-deserved reputation in recent years as a top-notch big bass fishery, which regularly boots out fish up to 15 pounds!
The lakes big bass make their living devouring planted rainbow trout, so working main lake points and other structure with soft plastic rainbow pattern swimbaits running 8 to 12 inches in length is the way to hook up.
If swimbaits fail to produce, go finesse with 6- and 8-inch wacky-rigged rainbow pattern Senkos. In addition to largemouths, Diamond Valley has a population of smallmouths that absolutely love dead sticked Senkos.
For big, bad-mannered brown trout, Lake Almanor is a great option. Small bits of cured trout roe fished near tributaries generate the strikes.
Mother lode anglers will want to visit Lake Camanche to sling dough baits for planted 'bows.
Lake Tahoe is America's premier alpine lake. Tahoe has established populations of brown and rainbow trout, kokanee salmon and mackinaw. Mackinaw are the main attraction for visiting anglers.
Tahoe's macks are ready strikers that provide outstanding table fare. The overall best offering is a threaded minnow slow-trolled behind a white glow dodger. The hot depths typically range from 100 to 220 feet, although you can find the fish much shallower at times.
If trolling minnows sounds too complicated, small spoons and minnow plugs will generate strikes, too.
For trophy-size largemouth bass during the month of April, California has dozens of locations, but few are as good as Lake Perris. Rig up with heavy fluorocarbon line, tie on a swimbait and hang on!
Lake Don Pedro is home to jumbo landlocked kings that can reach 8 pounds. Roll rigged shad to hook up.
Golden State anglers love kokanee because they put up a great fight and taste great on the grill. Several California lakes have kokanee populations, but in terms of the average size of fish caught, Lake Berryessa is the state's foremost kokanee destination.
Berryessa's 'kokes average 16 to 17 inches and average about 2 pounds each. During the spring the kokanee tend to be scattered throughout the lake's main body from the surface to 40 feet deep. To catch them, you'll want to pull spinners, spoons and bugs tipped with shoe peg corn behind dodgers and flashers. Orange, blue and purple colors usually work well.
At Collins Lake, May is a great month for trout fishing. Dough baits and worms produce lots of easy limits.
Folsom Lake offers excellent action for big channel cats in the 6- to 12-pound class. Live minnows work well.
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Anglers like their tools close by. And it's even better if it's connected to you so it doesn't go in the drink. T-Reign retractable gear tethers hold onto your pliers, hemostats or landing net. Several size options. Carabiner connects to D-ring, belt loop or strap, or use the stainless steel clip on belt or pack.
Suzuki DF15A/20A EFI
Suzuki's two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki's Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
Rapala is hoping the new Scatter Rap Series lures and their 'evasive action ' will be as popular as the original 'wounded minnow ' style action that the company is famous for. The new lure has a 'Scatter Lip ' that creates an evasive, erratic, aggressive sweep-ing action. Ideal for multispecies gamefish, the Scatter Rap Series is available in 14-16 classic and new color patterns. Baits 5- to 9-feet deep.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There's enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
Honda Marine's BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
TACKLE TOTE VEST
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you're standing in deeper waters. It's adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
FLEX 'N GO TACKLE SATCHEL
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano's new Flex 'N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
www.cabelas.com Jackets MSRP, $249.99-$269;
Cabela's Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
BERKLEY JAR BAIT FOLDER
Anglers who use jar baits know it's a pain to carry more than a few. Berk-ley now has two Jar Bait Folders to keep the baits at hand and make them easy to transport. Model 1170 holds 10 jars. Model 1490 holds 16. Both have various pockets and a D-ring for pliers.
BERKLEY TRILENE XL
Berkley says they've improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.
The new AV Micro is a complete underwater camera system that is the same size as a smart phone. On the boat or off the dock, use it to see where fish are hanging out. 3 1/2-inch diagonal display. Built-in rechargea-ble lithium ion batteries.
Smithwick Rogue's has been a stand-ard in bass-anglers' tackle boxes for years. Now they've got a new twist on the famous jerkbait. The
Perfect 10 Rogue has a new lip de-sign, to get deeper, quicker than other jerkbaits.
SIMMS WEATHER GEAR
MSRP, jacket $349, bibs $299.
Simms designed its Contender Gore-Tex jacket and bibs for anglers who need reliability when they are motor-ing on the water at 70 mph in rain and wind. Waterproof and breathable. Cuffs are water tight and adjustable.