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Rainbows plentiful at Don Pedro – kokanee not so much

 WON Staff Writer
Published: Jun 29, 2017
IONE — Rainbow trout are abundant at Don Pedro with quality trout to 4 pounds possible, but landing a kokanee is a matter of timing and good fortune, as the land-locked salmon are scarce.

ON THE WALL — Jack Thompson of El Dorado hills caught this impressive 4½-pound 23-inch rainbow trout at Don Pedro on Sunday, June 4, while fishing with pro guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sportfishing. He’s going to have the fish mounted.

Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing took out Mike Callizo, Robert Cain, and Dave Costa on their annual trip to the lake, and he said, “Fishing is really good, as we started to catch trout right after putting in the rods. We were running my custom shad-patterned spoons at depths from 21 to 55 feet, and the best depth was from 26 to 30 feet, as there is a band of cold water at this level. We put in 12 rainbows to 4 pounds by 10:30, finishing off with 14 rainbows and a king salmon by 11 a.m.” Smith will be back out on the lake this week, and he will be focusing on rainbows.

The Kokanee Power Phil Johnson Memorial Team Tournament was a grind for kokanee fishing, with a total of 6 kokanee landed by close to 80 participants in 34 boats. The good news was the kokanee were huge, with two fish in excess of 2 pounds. Gary Coe, Kokanee Power President said, “It has been a long time since I have cleaned a 2-pound kokanee in California, but we had no teams that weighed in more than 2 fish. The team of Jack Schultz, Carol Voris, and Alan Traynor weighed in two fish for a total for 53.10 ounces, while the next two places weighed in a single kokanee over two pounds.”

Coe said anglers brought a number of quality rainbows to the weigh in, and said that kokanee were scarce since there were none planted in 2015.

Robbie Dunham, the Koke Machine, landed the big fish of the tournament first thing in the morning at 2.7 pounds on a green/silver Apex lure tipped with corn scented with Kokanee Feast at 30 feet. He said, “Monte Smith told me the kokanee were above the rainbows, and I started off high in the water column. The fish hit so hard that I thought I was hung up, but since we were in deep water, I knew it was a big fish. We also weighed in the third-place rainbow at 3 pounds, 14 ounces with another at 3.5 pounds, and the rainbows were scattered at depths from 10 to 45 feet.”

The Bonds Flat Road is expected to be open by July 4, and this will eliminate the 45 minute ride around the lake from Blue Oaks to Fleming Meadows. The lake has risen to 97 percent, and the Blue Oaks launch is at the highest level and patience is necessary with the increased number of recreational boaters.


BIG RAINBOWS ARE still coming from Lake Don Pedro, and Mike Callizo of Modesto caught this 4-pound rainbow and Robert Cain of Stockton caught a 3-pound rainbow trout while fishing Don Pedro on Friday, June 23, while fishing with guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sportfishing. The duo and their buddy Dave Costa of Oakdale caught their limits of trout before noon.

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