Fourth of July fireworks, fishy style: some of the hottest bites for the long holiday weekend

By Joel Shangle

Hennesy Funds pro-staffer Allison Shaw with a pair of frog-caught Clear Lake largies. (Photo courtesy Allison Shaw)
Hennessy Funds, Dobyns Rods and Maxima pro-staffer Allison Shaw with a pair of frog-caught Clear Lake largies. (Photo courtesy Allison Shaw)

With temperatures spiking over triple digits throughout the Golden State this week, it seems like a good idea to celebrate the Independence Day long weekend with water nearby. As in, up to your knees as you wade a local stream, or under the boat you’re fishing out of.

Taking a look around the state, we’ve plucked a handful of excellent Fourth of July fishing options out of the fire(works). Here are the places you’ll find the extended California Sportsman family over the next few days:

Lower Sacramento River: Excellent fishing to be had for wild raibows, according to veteran guide Kirk Portocarrero of

Early morning and late afternoons are the best, but we’re catching huge rainbows now: 16 to 25 inches,” KP reports. “We’re using Prince nymphs, Iron Sallies, Pheasant Tails, Poxyback PMDs, black Rubber Legs and Green Gidgets. Boat traffic is heavier from Posse Grounds to Anderson River Park.”

Clear Lake: Get your frog and punch on. CS July “Fresh Face” Allison Shaw, Chris Costello, BASS Elite Series angler Chris Zaldain and Trait Crist whacked the largemouth this week throwing frogs and punching the vegetable canopies around Clear Lake. Stow this away: this is the time of year to hit Clear Lake for zombie patrol when the sun goes down and the night-fishing crowd does its best.

New Melones Reservoir: The peak of the kokanee season arrives throughout the Mother Lode, as reported by the staff at Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp.

“The fish that are being caught are very fat and up to 13 to 15 inches in length,” says Melanie Lewis. ” Anglers should try fishing the main lake near the dam, spillway, and Rose Island. Lures with blades will produce flash and vibration that aggravate fish and trigger more bites.  A few lures that have been working are, Mag Tackle Mini Mags, Rocky Mountain Super Squids and Assasins, Uncle Larry’s Spinners, and Glitterbug’s Bladed Micro Hoochies.   Be sure to use plenty of scent on your blade and lure.  Garlic, anise, kokanee special, carp spit, and bloody tuna are great scents that produce fish every year.  Don’t forget to tip your lures with scented and dyed shoe peg corn.”

San Pablo Reservoir: Bring out the stanky stuff this week: the catfish bite at San Pablo is red hot, thanks to a boost of 800 pounds of cats that went into the lake in late June.

“Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers, anchovies and shrimp out at the boat launch shoreline, Scow Canyon and Oak Point,” reports David Perez at the tackle shop.