TROUT: Trout bites are generally fair to good all across Southern California’s urban lakes getting private plants. Top pick for this week in the High Desert is Apollo Park Lake in Lancaster. In San Diego county, Dixon Lake 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 three weeks ago and it is getting more trout this week. The trout action in the Colorado River near Bullhead City is good. Limits of one-pound class fish have been pretty common. In the Sierra, the upper Owens winter catch-and-release bite is still a good bet for catch-and-release fishing but snow has made and will continue to make access problematic. Big Bear Lake also has a pretty darn good winter bite for bank anglers again this week, but it has been very cool with temperatures below freezing and snow forecast.
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, El Capitan, Castaic, Casitas, Pyramid, San Vicente, and Diamond Valley. On the Colorado River, the bites are starting to pick back after the latest round of cold weather, especially in backwaters and lagoons on the lower river. 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 Castaic and Pyramid, while the Skinner bite slipped after a bluestone treatment of the lake this past Friday. Silverwood and Diamond Valley are much 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 broke open this past week, and the action at Hodges. A few fish have also been reported at Cachuma and Silverwood. There is also a good bite at Lopez Lake on the Central Coast and Lake Success in the southern Sierra.
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, Lower Otay, El Capitan, San Vicente, the California aqueduct below Quail Lake and Quail Lake itself. Lower Otay produced a near-64-pound blue this past week. The lower Colorado River has a few channels being reported, but there is very light fishing pressure. No flatheads reported.