Freshwater Hot Spots

TROUT: Trout season has kicked into high gear at Southern California’s urban lakes. Top pick for this week are Dixon Lake (6,000 pounds of plants this week for the big weekend trout derby). Other good bets are Santa Ana River Lakes, Apollo Park Lake in Lancaster (plant last week), all the San Bernardino County park lakes (Glen Helen, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, Prado, and Mojave Narrows) which get plants weekly now. In San Diego County, Cuyamaca, Santee Lake, and Jennings are decent bets, but nothing like Dixon.

BLACK BASS: The action is finally slowing at many waters, but it is still darn good other places with the fish still up chasing baitfish most mornings. Top bets continue to be Castaic, Pyramid, El Capitan, San Vicente, Lower Otay, and Diamond Valley, but all have slowed from last week. Perris, which has been just fair, cranked out a 13-pounder this week. On the Colorado River, the bites are fair and improving in Havasu and Mohave along with the lower river backwaters. Smallmouth have also been fair to good in the lower Colorado River, but there is just no fishing pressure.

STRIPED BASS: The striper action was generally fair to good most places this past week. Diamond Valley, Castaic, and Skinner are the best bets for volume and size, but Pyramid and Silverwood have been fair, mostly with smaller fish. Diamond Valley cranked out an 18-plus this week after the trout plant last week. The best way to fish at all the lakes is to use topwater or jerk baits in boils or trolled shad-like lures or flies. If the fish go deep, lug and blood worms are the best bait, but jigging spoons are already working at Pyrmaid. The California aqueduct near Taft is still fair on frozen sardines and blood worms, and more keeper fish are starting to show. The Colorado Riverís Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave are both fair to good bites and getter better by the day. Both are cranking out some fish over 10 pounds, but most two to six pounds. Lots of small stripers in the river between Davis Dam and Topoc Gorge.

PANFISH: The bluegill and redear bites continue to slow across the region, but a few decent bites remains. Top bets are Lake Perris, Lower Otay, El Capitan, Lake Murry, and Diamond Valley Lake, but none get a rating better than fair. Lake Havasu, and Topoc Gorge on the Colorado River continue to produce a few redear, but this bite is tough, and there are very few reports.

CATFISH: Overall, the catfish bites have been fair to good across the region but getting light pressure. The California aqueduct near Taft and Lake Isabella are both pretty fair. Fall is trophy catfish time and some big fish are showing across the region. Skinner and Pyramid are lakes to watch, and Lower Otay cranked out a 62-pound stringer anchored by a 36-pounder this week. The lower Colorado River has slowed way down as water levels drop, but very light fishing pressure.

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