Freshwater Hot Spots – Sept. 24, 2015

Jim Matthews

TROUT: In the Eastern Sierra Nevada, the hot spots have been the fly-fishing waters of Crowley Lake and the East Walker River. For bait and lure anglers, the Virginia Lakes, Silver and Grant Lake, and Convict Lake are the best bets. In Southern California, there are no good trout option with Big Bear Lake, Green Valley Lake, Lake Hemet, Fulmor Lake, Jenks Lake, and Lake Gregory all pretty slow. If there is a bright spot, it would have to be the budding bite at Jess Ranch in Hesperia, which produced a few limits of rainbows to 9-plus pounds this week.

BLACK BASS: The bass are still in a baitfish-chasing mode in most waters, and the topwater bite has been fair to good just about everywhere. Many waters are finally starting to cool just a little and this tends to intensify the action. Lake Perris broke open and has been very good this past week on reaction baits, but other top bets include Casitas, Castaic, Diamond Valley Lake, Cachuma Lake, El Capitan, Lower Otay, Skinner, Piru, and Pyramid. All of these places are pretty good for short periods each day when the fish come up to chase bait — and that is not always first and late light these days. On the Colorado River, the smallmouth and largemouth bites have also been fair to good from Lake Havasu south into the lower river backwaters and up in Lake Mohave, mostly on topwater and reaction baits fished on or along weed beds.

STRIPED BASS: The striper action is fair to good across most of Southern California’s reservoirs. Pyramid is wide open on fish to four pounds, while Castaic is fair to good. Skinner and Silverwood slowed a little this week, with only very small fish under a pound showing from Silverwood. Diamond Valley also produced a few fish but is getting almost no pressure. Topwater bites are possible at all these waters, but still are of short duration or scattered (Pyramid and Castaic have been the best for surface action). The California aqueduct near Taft perked a little this past week with the cooler evenings and this bite could break open any time. On the Colorado River, the bite is good from the Bullhead-Laughlin stretch down river into Lake Havasu. Lake Mohave is also fair to good on stripers.

PANFISH: The redear and bluegill bites are good on the Colorado River, and a number of local panfish bites were also fair to good over the past week. Lake Perris had fair to good action on bluegill and redear, and Diamond Valley Lake is getting little pressure, but it continues to produce a lot of bluegill and redear, and Lake Murray in San Diego County has a very good redear bite with fish to two pounds reported. Cachuma also has a good bluegill bite. Lopez Lake on the Central Coast has very low water levels, but a very good bluegill and redear bite, and Santa Margarita Lake, in the same region, has continued to crank out a decent number of crappie to 2-8 on small jigs. 

CATFISH: Lake Skinner continues to have a good catfish bite on cut baits, especially chicken liver, with a number of cats to 10 pounds or better again this week. There also continues to be fair to good channel catfish bite in the California aqueduct near Taft, with fish running three to eight pounds and better. Lake Isabella, Silverwood, and Lake Cachuma all have pretty good bites, and there were improved bites at Piru, Pyramid, and Castaic. The Lake Elsinore catfish bite is also still a fair to good bet. For planted fish, Santa Ana River Lakes and Irvine are top bets. The flathead bite on the Colorado River in generally fair to good all along the lower river with fish from 20 to 40 pounds showing occasionally. Fishing pressure is very light. Best action is just before the new and full moons and/or right after thunderstorms add a little color to the river water. Meanwhile, the channel catfish bite has been excellent in the whole river from Bullhead downstream to the Mexican border with a lot of fish from three to eight pounds reported.

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