TROUT: Trout season is in full swing across Southern California urban lakes getting private plants. Top picks for this week are Lake Palmdale (a members-only lake in Palmdale) and Apollo Park Lake in Lancaster (stocked last week) in the High Desert. In San Diego county, Dixon Lake, Wohlford, and Jennings are the top bets. Santa Ana River Lakes in Orange County is always a good bet. The San Bernardino County park lakes (Glen Helen, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, and Prado) are getting weekly plants and good. 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 1-pound class fish have been pretty common. In the Sierra, the upper Owens winter catch-and-release bite is perhaps the best bet in the southern half of the state for catch-and-release fishing as the big rainbows run up out of Crowley. Big Bear Lake also has a pretty darn good winter bite for bank anglers again this week.
BLACK BASS: The action is perking up thanks to the warm weather this past week, and many fish are nosing up into the shallows thinking of the spawn. The best bites remain on drop-shot plastics during the middle part of most days. Top bets continue to be Lower Otay, Castaic, Pyramid, El Capitan, San Vicente, and Diamond Valley. On the Colorado River, the bites are starting to pick back with the continued warm weather. Top bet is the lower river backwaters with the low water forcing the fish out of the tules. Havasu and Mohave are also improving. Smallmouth have been fair in the lower Colorado River, but there is just no fishing pressure.
STRIPED BASS: The striper action improved as we came out of the full moon. The best bites overall are Skinner and Castaic, with Skinner an especially hot bet if you can dip live shad. Pyramid, Silverwood, and Diamond Valley are all slower, but Silverwood produced a 36-pounder this past week. Best bets are still swimbaits, trolled flies, umbrella rigs, jigging spoons, and — of course — the usual array of baits, especially lug and blood worms. The California aqueduct near Taft is still fair on frozen sardines and Gitzits. The Colorado River’s Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave are both fair with fish up and chasing shad many days and showing on rip and jerk baits, but most are showing on drifted cut baits. Lots of small stripers in the river between Davis Dam and Topoc Gorge, but some to 10-plus pounds. 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. Crappie bites worth noting are at Brite Lake in Tehachapi, and Truxton and Ming lakes in Bakersfield. It also looks like the bites might be taking off at Casitas and Cachuma. Not many anglers trying for the slabs.
CATFISH: Overall, the catfish bites are slowed 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, and the east end where Highway 138 crosses it near Crystalaire. The lower Colorado River has a few channels being reported, but there is very light fishing pressure. No flatheads reported.