Fuller Lake and its neighbor, Rucker Lake, are located at similar elevations and feature comparable conifer-studded northern Sierra Nevada scenery, but their fisheries couldn’t be more different.
Fuller, situated at 5,341 feet above sea level in the Yuba Gap region off Bowman Lake Road near Lake Spaulding, is a popular cold water fishery supplied from a canal from Bowman Lake. The lake offers top-notch rainbow and brown trout fishing in the spring, summer and fall for bank fishermen, float tubers and boaters.
Just a little over a mile away, Rucker Lake, located at 5499.5 feet in elevation in a Sierra meadow, is a shallow, warm water lake supplied with water from Rucker Creek that drains Blue Lake. Its weed-lined waters feature not just a large population of scrappy largemouth bass, but brown bullhead catfish and green sunfish.
Both Fuller and Rucker are natural lakes whose water levels were raised when PG&E constructed dams on them in 1970-71. Both Fuller and Rucker are also the same size – exactly 69 surface acres.
I love making an annual shore fishing trip to these two lakes, since I can have a ball catching trout and bass the same day. I have caught my limit of rainbows several times while fishing at Fuller, while I have experienced some epic bass days at Rucker.
On my latest trip to Fuller on Saturday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife had recently stocked the lake with 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout, one of several plants made into the lake this season.
Chang Vang of Sacramento and his two-year-old daughter, Mia Joy Vang, landed a couple of rainbows while shore fishing at Fuller Lake. Six-year-old Maddox Kumanchik, eight-year-old Novalee and their dad, Keenan, also had fun catching two rainbows while bank fishing with PowerBait at Fuller.
After trout fishing at Fuller, I often drive up Bowman Lake Road, take a right at the Rucker Lake sign and drive up a gravel road to the lake.
Usually this is a good place to catch lots of scrappy largemouths, mostly in the 8- to 12-inch range but with some larger fish mixed in. I have caught fat, healthy bass in the 12 to 15 inch range at Rucker and I’ve seen fish to 3 1/2 pounds landed. I have heard reports of bass to eight pounds, but the largest fish documented in a photo was a 6 ½-pound. largemouth caught from a boat in 2009.
I do best using wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senkos or split shotting with Berkley Power Worms and other soft plastics in purple, motor oil, green pumpkin and blue patterns. Information: (530) 288-3231.
Golden Gate salmon: Chinook fishing was excellent over the Labor Day weekend outside of the Golden Gate. The New Easy Rider returned with 41 salmon to 26 pounds for 21 anglers on Monday and 25 limits to 25 pounds on Saturday. Anglers are trolling with anchovies at 30 to 40 feet deep. Information: (707) 422-2050.
Delta striped bass: Fishing was “off the hook” for experienced trollers on the Delta on Labor Day weekend, reported Dave Hammond of Delta Pro Fishing. The water temperature has cooled down to 68 to 69 degrees. Hammond is trolling with deep diving and shallow diving Yo-Zuri lures on the San Joaquin River from San Andreas Shoals to the Antioch Bridge and on the Sacramento River at Decker Island. Information: (916) 479-3492.