Freshwater Hot Spots

TROUT: Trout season is in full swing across Southern California urban lakes getting private plants. DFW fish started being stocked three weeks ago, and those plants continued this week. In the planted trout lakes, top picks for this week continue to be Lake Wohlford, Dixon, and Jennings in San Diego County, Apollo Park Lake in Lancaster, Santa Ana River Lakes in Orange County, 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 and Santee Lakes. 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. For anglers who like wild fish, this is the top pick, but you may need a snowmobile to access the river this week. Big Bear Lake also has a pretty darn good winter bite for bank anglers with several fish to four pounds reported again 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 Lower Otay, Castaic, Pyramid, El Capitan, San Vicente, 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. Skinner is the top pick with a lot of small fish and a few bigger, especially if you dip life shad. Pyramid, Castaic, Silverwood, and Diamond Valley are slower than Skinner, but Pyramid and Castaic are still fair. 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. 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. Even Murray and Lower Otay which had continued to produce a few fish are pretty much shut down now. There was a three-pound class bluegill caught at Diamond Valley Lake this week, but it was caught trolling for stripers. 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, El Capitan, San Vicente, the California aqueduct below Quail Lake, Quail Lake itself, 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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