Trout stocks have begun at one of the heaviest planted lakes in Northern California and they won't stop until the spring when nearly 90 tons of rainbows have gone in.
Lake Amador on Monday began putting in 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout and will continue to do so Monday through Friday through the spring.
That's right - 1,000 pounds per day.
Located near Ione in Amador County, the 400-acre lake has 13-1/2 miles of shoreline and provides the opportunity for big trout and plenty of them.
The Lockhart Family, operators of the resort since the 1970s, raise their own trout on site. They have four large tanks that hold 30,000 pounds of trout and a matrix of bins, tanks and runways that move the trout through their growth cycle.
“We try to put in 175,000 pounds of trout in each season,” said Sandy Lockhart. “Most of the fish are one to three pounds but we also keep brood stock weighing six to 10 pounds and we throw a net-load of those in each week.”
The Lockharts raise both Donaldson trout – a mixture of rainbow, cutthroat and steelhead developed in the 1940s at the University of Washington – and a more domestic rainbow/steelhead mix.
The Donaldson strain, also called super trout, is appealing to anglers not only for its flavor and fight, but because it likes to stay near the surface. Fly fishers and trollers can better fish for the cruising Donaldson trout than typical planters that hunker down in deeper holes. Donaldsons stay in the top three feet of water while looking for food.
Lake Amador is the only water in California holding Donaldson trout. They are in the Great Lakes and in Red Hills Lake in Oregon.
With nearly 90 tons of trout, action can be very good, but not guaranteed. As the lake fills the trout will spread out into the arms. For now most of the action is taking place near the dam.
Lake Amador charges a $9 per car access fee and an additional $8 per angler fishing fee. Boats can be launched for $7 and boat rentals are available. Fishing is allowed 24 hours but the clubhouse closes at dark. There is a night attendant to sign in anglers arriving at night. Donaldson trout can be effectively fished with submersible lights at night.
Amador is a fishing-only lake. Waterskiing and jet skiing are not permitted. There are full hook-up RV sites and a 150 site campground with showers and flush toilets.
The Clubhouse serves breakfast and lunch Friday through Sunday.
A derby will take place Nov. 23 through March 31. Every week 10 tagged fish worth cash and prizes are planted. A $5 entry fee is good for the whole year.
Information: (209) 274-4739 http://www.lakeamador.com
Keywords: Lake Amador, Donaldson trout