Freshwater Hot Spots

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 this 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 have been fair to good. Silverwood was planted with brown trout again this past Friday. 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 as we move toward spawning season. Many fish are already moving 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 after a weather cool down this week. 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 has remained about the same with slow to fair bites most places. 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. 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 lug worms 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 Lower Otay Reservoir in San Diego County, which has been pretty fair. A few fish have also been reported from Casitas, Silverwood, and Cachuma. There is also a good bite at Lopez Lake on the Central Coast with some limits (25 fish) reported.

CATFISH: Overall, the catfish bites are slow 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 and Quail Lake itself. The lower Colorado River has a few channels being reported, but there is very light fishing pressure. No flatheads reported.

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