Fishing with Rich
by Rich Lingor
August fishing comes with guaranteed sunshine. Solving the summer fishing puzzle starts with at least one of the pieces firmly in place. Cloud cover is a rare and welcome variable. So reliable sunrise and sunset timing keeps most anglers and fish on a fairly predictable schedule. Mid-day sunshine tends to drive fish deeper into shady cover, or, if cover is not available, into deeper water where the sunlight is diminished. Pelting sun rays not only warms the surface, but also adds enough heat to make fish uncomfortable. Hotter water also holds less dissolved oxygen. Healthy green water plants or weeds provide cooling shade and release oxygen that can keep fish happy, comfortable, and give them a reason to stay shallow when it is hot enough to make you wonder what the heck you were thinking when you decided to go outside.
Shade in the summer is good for anglers as well as fish. Any shade is a good thing for fish, wildlife, and people when it's too hot. Shade from green stuff in the right place can be the hot fishing spot. Dissolved oxygen from the aquatic vegetation can sometimes be a key ingredient to positioning fish. Another source of dissolved oxygen can be current since flowing water mixes air and water. Other sources may include wind, water pumping for power generation, or even boat traffic. Without current or cover, deeper water becomes the default option. Fishing near the surface with top water presentations has been the recipe for action, fun, and success for anglers that get to the fish early. When the top water action seems to fizzle out, the soft plastic baits fished slower and deeper is a good way to resume getting your fishing line tugged on again.
White in-line spinners like Rooster Tails can cover most of the layers of the water column and have been effective on most of the species in the lake. These lures do a good job of approximating the size and color of a shad minnow, the main menu item for most of the gamefish. These have been especially effective on the white bass. Drought condition water levels have limited launching options at most of our local lakes. The following information was gathered on Friday, July 15:
Lake Cachuma is only allowing kayaks and canoes, no car toppers.
Lake Lopez is on a day-to- day decision for launching. Lake level is 27%. As of 7/15/16, people are still launching bass boats, but there is only three feet of water, and they are kicking up mud. Before making the trip check with the lake staff by calling (805) 788-2386.
Santa Margarita is allowing all types of hand launch boats. Gate personnel say you will have to drag your boat off of the trailer and then drag it five to ten feet. Lake level is 11.5%
Lake Nacimiento is at 30%; last year at this time it was at 24%. Launching is good with plenty of depth at the ramp.
Fishing has been Good to Excellent at all of these lakes.
Lake San Antonio is still closed as of July 15, but there is a reasonable chance of that changing soon. Lake level 7% (3% this time last year), 66.3 feet maximum depth (45' last year), 6.1 miles long (3.5 miles last year).
Notes on a score card: The Fishing With Rich Team escaped the inland heat on the ocean. Myrle Bowlby, his son Joe, and I traveled to Dana Point where we rode the sport fishing boat the Fury to San Clemente Island where we took advantage of the great fishing conditions resulting from the El Niño currents. We caught yellowtail, bonito, barracuda, and calico bass. I battled a twenty-five- plus pound yellowtail to the boat where a sea lion engulfed it before it could be hoisted over the rail. But he didn't get my next one. If you enjoy ocean fishing or just want to beat the heat, this is the year to do it. Just go.
Tight lines! -Rich Lingor-