Lake Berryessa Napa California- Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County, California. This reservoir in the Vaca Mountains was formed following the construction of the Monticello Dam on Putah Creek in the 1950’s.
Catchment area:576 mi²
Location: Vaca Mountains, Napa County, California
Max. depth: 275 ft (84 m)
My adventure today took me to Beautiful Lake Berryessa- I am out scouting for the first Yak-A-Bass Tournament of the year, so I wanted to break down my pre fishing for 2 days and what I discovered while out on the water looking for the green fish we all love to catch BASS!!! this lake is very special, It holds Large mouth, Small mouth and Spotted bass along with various other species of fish from trout and kokone to catfish and carp and bait fish galore.
I focused one 2 separate areas of the lake, the small islands area near the oak shores public launch and the river arm at pleasure cove. Both areas are different in so many ways from depth and structure to the ability to hide from the wind and boat traffic. The islands area has large areas of flats and steep drop offs and is really well protected from the wind where the pleasure cove area is wide open, has lots of wood and steep rocky and or muddy banks and in the back of the river a large flat dotted with trees. The areas I fished gave me a pretty good understanding of the lake and both had different water temps. Oak shores had a high water temp of 62 degrees and the pleasure cove offered temps as high as 72 degrees.
Oak shores- I was looking for structure and found very little but what I did find was points and points and more points all very close together and the best part they held a large number of fish. Fish were caught in 10-20 feet of water all on drop shot. The bait of choice was a custom poured robo worm clone with a clear top with hologram flake and a black bottom with silver flake this was to imitate the shad and bait fish found in the area. The only problem with this area was the size of fish being caught, all ranged in the 10-14 inch range- this definitely was not going to help me win my upcoming tournament. So I looked for greener pastures
Pleasure Cove- this area offered very little wind break and unfortunetly the lake can get windy pretty fast. Luckily its a small river arm so the waves were not bad until the pleasure boaters made there way out for some fun in the sun. I started my day off fishing left from the launch going past the 5mph no wake zone looking for structure, here is where I found what I was looking for. Large gravel and rock banks with wood all along the banks and weed lines. I tried my dropshot early in the morning with a few fish rangeing from 16-18 inches on the outside of weed lines and on the rocky banks. Feeling pretty happy with what I had found I decided to do a 180 and fish towards the mouth of the creek. Once I arrived I found flats rangeing from 3015 feet with large tree clusters in the water. Here is where I found my go to for tournament day!!! The trees held a large number of fish ranging from 17-22 inches and very long and skinny- Post spawn with fry swimming everywhere. Instead of the drop shot I brought out my flipping stick with 25lb mono and some of my custom poured beavers. After searching for the right color I found a brown to brown green was the desired bait of the day, I ended my day here flipping every tree I could find. I ended up with 30 fish all over 17 inches and a pretty good grasp on what I felt was going to win the tournament.
– Jake Snyder