When Northern California’s Lake Pardee re-opens to fishing on Friday, Feb. 6th., 2009, anglers should see some white-hot fishing…if it’s anything like the action we encountered on Media Day on Sunday.
The preview day of fishing was open to a select few bass pros and media members (organized by Kent Brown of Ultimate Bass Radio and hosted by Pardee Recreation Co. owners Richard and Kerry Copper). Record-class smallmouth bass were the target de jour. Pardee is rapidly gaining a reputation of being a top-notch smallie fishery, and several bronzebacks in the 8 to 9+ pound class were taken there last season.
But’s let’s back up here…
The day kicked off just before dawn with a mandatory vessel inspection by a DFG dog trained to sniff out aquatic pests like Zebra and Quagga mussels…
Once the boats were cleared to launch, we broke up into pairs and hit the water at first light…
The lake elevation looked good, the water temp was around 50 degrees and the clarity was excellent but it was still a bit early in the year for the bass fishing to heat up and the smallie bite was pretty slow for most of us.
Despite the tough bite, some quality — though not record-breaking — smallies were brought in:
The bass pros I spoke with all agreed that the lake is one of the best smallie waters around and most said that Pardee has a very real chance of producing the next all tackle world record for the species in the near future. The action should really pick up sometime in late February and heat up through March and April at least.
In the meantime, trout anglers should make some serious plans to visit the lake on opening day Friday — or soon thereafter. The rainbow trout bite was nothing short of spectacular and boats caught as many as 30+ each on drop-shotted worms, Smallie Beavers and scaled-down rip baits. Most of the fish were solid 14+ inchers and looked very healthy:
The bulk of the rainbows were in the marina cove and the narrows heading out towards the main lake body — and that’s where I’d head opening day. The lake is literally stuffed with trout! Again, the bass (there are some big largemouth here also) will turn on a bit later and you can also plan on chasing kokanee, panfish and catfish at Pardee.
It’s really a nice, user-friendly sized lake with beautiful surroundings — and, later in the season anglers will appreciate the fact that wakeboards and jet skis are not allowed!
I was impressed with the quality of the facilities at Lake Pardee — everything was clean and extremely well-maintained. In addition to some great fishing, you’ll also find: boat rentals, a ten-lane boat launch ramp, new state of the art fish cleaning station, developed overnight camping, 2 swimming pools, RV sites with full hook-ups, laundry & hot showers, flush restrooms, coffee shop, store, gas station, and a full service marina…heck, you’ll never have to leave…at least until the lake closes again in the fall.