When Ron Howe says he has an open seat for Lake Oroville one doesn’t think twice about not going. So, when the opportunity presented itself this past Saturday I couldn’t get ready fast enough! With the Wild West Bass Trail event just two weeks away this was a great opportunity to get some fun fishing in while also getting a feel for the conditions and to ultimately see what the fish were doing.
We arrived at the launch ramp around 7AM to find that we were not the only ones looking to take advantage of this unbelievably warm and dry December weather. While it was a cool 35 degrees the forecast predicted it to be in the mid-60s by noon with a 4-5 mph wind blowing out of the Southeast. The water level at Oroville continues to drop. Current water level sitting at approximately 697 feet with water temps ranging between 49-51 degrees.
To start off Ron and I stopped off at a few spots throughout the main body throwing reaction baits. I was able to land two fish within the first couple of minutes by throwing a small Keitech paired with a 3/16 oz. Gamakatsu Round Jig. Unfortunately, as shown in the photo below the quality of fish being landed was not what we were looking for.
Oroville was holding true to its reputation for being a numbers fishery but we were after the bigger bites so we picked up and moved by running up North. The water up North was considerably cooler ranging between 48-49 degrees and the wind was considerably stronger barreling through the canyons. Ron was throwing the A-Rig and was getting bit left and right but the fish were just not committing. It was apparent that the reaction bite just wasn’t happening so it was back to the drawing board.
In looking at the graphs we just weren’t marking a ton of fish and from the few that we were marking they were staying nice and tight to the bottom so we focused or our attention to bottom baits. I picked up a ¼ oz. Frenzy Nail paired with a 4” natural colored worm and was able to land a few keepers but again just nothing over the 1lb range. Ron was able to land a couple of fish by dragging a tube and throwing a wacky nail weighted senko.
We continued to move from one area to the next for the remainder of the day. While we had a great time fishing the day ended up being an absolute but we were able to catch around 20 fish and figure a few things out but the big bites we were in search of just never came. While we caught fish in about every area of the lake with no real pattern at play the fish did manage to tell us a few things. They wanted the presentation on the very bottom and while they wanted it moving, the movement needed to be a very subtle movement or they wanted nothing to do with it. Another thing we were able to key into quite early in the day was positioning the boat in about 50 feet of water and bringing the bait into the 30-foot zone was best. Tubes, jigs, shakey head paired with natural colored soft plastics all produced.
The reaction bite may have been non-existent and the day may have been a grind but Ron and I had an absolute blast catching fish and ultimately, we took what the fish were giving us on this day which quite frankly seemed to be far more than what we were hearing from others at the launch ramp afterwards. With rain projected in the upcoming forecast I expect the fish to become far more active by the time the Wild West Bass Trail event rolls into Oroville on January 13th. So, if you have an opportunity to fish don’t let it pass you by and give Lake Oroville a try!
Tight Lines & Happy New Years from RB Bass!
Ryan K. McGinnis