Lake Berryessa Late March 2023 Fishing Report
We made the trip on Saturday, March 25th to spend all day running Catch Happy HQ all over Lake Berryessa investigating the bite. Our bait coolers were fully stocked with Live Minnows, Nightcrawlers, Frozen Shad, Chicken Liver, and other dough-based baits like Crappie Bites and Powerbait. We also had a wide variety of flashers, hoochies, spoons, etc ready for downrigger trolling. The stage was set for a fantastic day on the water.
We launched at Capelle Cove around 9 am. This boat ramp was closed for virtually all of 2022, so launching from here was a pleasant surprise. Not having to pay $20--$30 just to launch the boat is a welcome break. The parking lot had plenty of room and clean bathrooms. We saw a patrol car making rounds twice. Once when we launched, and another while loading Catch Happy HQ back onto her trailer. The ramp/lot felt very safe, clean, and cared for.
Launching and finally getting on the lake is always a gleeful moment. It feels remarkably like a mini reincarnation. Here you are, working your backside off, caring for the kids, and running down problems. It feels like a tunnel sometimes and fishing for us is the light at the end. When the designated fishing day approaches we find ourselves consumed by research and getting the gear set up. Our minds are off of the grind and into this new adventurous space. The day comes and waking up at 5:15am isn't a chore, it's a joy. The adventure starts as soon as you have the trip on the schedule, and once you are there, your perspective shifts. This shift feels like the mini reincarnation and my goal is to help more people feel this way.
Anyway, back to the business of reporting on fishing. We are marking fish all throughout Capell Cove. The "Bananas" (this is how most fish show up on the fish finder) of all sizes are showing up on the radar in great concentrations, all suspended at around 20-40 feet. There is a seaweed garden down there with fish congregating around it.
Our goal was to attempt to catch Crappies, Catfish, Trout, and King. I know it sounds ambitious, but we had the bait, the gear, the equipment, the patience, and the time. First, we went into multiple coves and put Live Minnows under the bobber. We checked 4-5 coves with the same result. No bites. The winds were 14-16 MPH and the swell+wind twisted the boat around the anchor something fierce. As such, catfishing was out of the question.
Next, we got the downriggers set up and trolled hoochies, spoons, and you name it, behind the flashers. We tried tipping the lures with corn and night crawlers. Fishing the water column from 20ft-60ft produced no bites. We've covered a lot of water but had nothing to show for it.
To sum this up, we spent about 4 hours jumping from cove to cove fishing Crappie on live Minnows under a bobber, then another 5-6 hours trolling all around the lake changing lures, leader sizes, scents, etc. Nothing.
As we fished I chatted up a few other boats and a few bank anglers. No one really got onto anything except a few juvenile smallmouth bass and a single blue gill.
I think we are a few weeks (maybe days) away from Berryessa becoming one of the best fisheries in years. The amount of fish we marked was remarkable. I am just thrilled at seeing the lake virtually full and very excited for the upcoming fishing season.
Tight lines, my friends.
Capt. Oso (Alex)