Freshwater Hot Spots

TROUT: Trout season is in full swing across Southern California urban lakes getting private plants. DFW fish started being stocked in big numbers last week, and those plants continued this week (see trout plants list below). In the planted trout lakes, top picks for this week continue to be Lake Wohlford, Santa Ana River Lakes, Apollo Park Lake in Lancaster, and all the San Bernardino County park lakes (Glen Helen, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, Prado, and Mojave Narrows) which get plants weekly now. Other waters good in San Diego County included Cuyamaca, Dixon, Santee, and Jennings. A sleeper pick, better than many local urban waters, is the trout action in the Colorado River near Bullhead City. Limits of one-pound class fish have been pretty common. In the Sierra, the upper Owens winter catch-and-release bite has broken wide open on big fish running up out of Crowley. Big Bear Lake also has a pretty darn good winter bite for bank anglers with several fish to four pounds reported this week and lots of limits.

BLACK BASS: The action is finally slowing at many waters, but it is still fair to good other places. The best bites are now on drop-shot plastics during the middle part of most days. Top bets continue to be Castaic, Pyramid, El Capitan, San Vicente, Lower Otay, Diamond Valley, and Skinner. On the Colorado River, the bites have slowed but a few fish are showing in Havasu and Mohave along with the lower river backwaters. Smallmouth have also been fair in the lower Colorado River, but there is just no fishing pressure.

STRIPED BASS: The striper action was generally just fair this past week, with a couple of exceptions. Castaic and Skinner are the top picks with a lot of small fish and a few bigger. Pyramid, Silverwood, and Diamond Valley are much slower. Not as much surface action, but still a lot of fish on deeper swimbaits, trolled flies, umbrella rigs, jigging spoons, and — of course ñ the usual array of baits, especially lug and blood worms. 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. Lots of small stripers in the river between Davis Dam and Topoc Gorge. There was a 30-plus pounder caught in the Laughlin stretch on a big trout-like swimbait. This stretch of the river is getting weekly trout plants and the big stripers are taking advantage of the feed.

PANFISH: The bluegill and redear bites are slow across the board now. Murray and Lower Otay continue to produce a few fish, but things have really slowed down. A few big redear continue to show from Havasu in deep water on nightcrawlers, but few other reports.

CATFISH: Overall, the catfish bites have slowed way down across the region, but getting very little fishing pressure so the action is hard to gauge. Catfish anglers should focus on Skinner, the California aqueduct below Quail Lake, Quail Lake itself (which may have the best catfish bite in the region), Lower Otay, Pyramid, and Isabella. The lower Colorado River has also slowed way down as water levels drop, but there is very light fishing pressure.

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