By: Jim Matthews
TROUT: Winter trout season is here in Southern California with most lakes stocking weekly or alternating weeks. Top bets with weekly plants include Santa Ana River Lake, Laguna Niguel, Dixon Lake, Irvine Lake, Lake Poway, Corona Lake, Lake Jennings and Lake Silverwood (13 weeks in a row of DFW fish). All of the San Bernardino County parks – Glen Helen, Prado, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, and Mojave Narrows – are getting weekly 1,000-pound plants. Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains has been good (and neglected), but it’s cold this week. There is also an excellent bite on the upper Owens River in the Sierra for fly anglers.
BLACK BASS: The bass are mostly in a winter pattern with fish in deeper water now. Decent bets include Skinner, Perris, Casitas, Castaic, Piru, Lower Otay and El Capitan. The Central Coast waters of Santa Margarita and Lopez are also still pretty fair. On the Colorado River, the bites have slowed dramatically and there is very little fishing pressure, but there is some smallmouth action in the lower river, especially around rip-rap.
STRIPED BASS: The striper action slowed this week at most SoCal reservoirs with the cold weather. The top bites continue to be at Silverwood, Pyramid and Skinner, but the bites slowed again at Castaic and Diamond Valley. The California aqueduct near Taft remains one of the better striper bets with a lot of fish to six pounds. On the Colorado River, the Bullhead City-Laughlin stretch remains a decent pick but even it slowed down again this past week with cooler weather and light fishing pressure.
PANFISH: All most all the panfish bites took a major turn for the worse again this past week. Only a few redear and bluegill are still showing at Lake Perris in a fair bite overall. Crappie bites are pretty much dead right now everywhere.
CATFISH: The flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River remains in the tank, but the channel catfish bite in the Palo Verde lagoon has been fair to good. Blue and channel catfish continue to show very sporadically in most in SoCal reservoirs. The hands-down best bet is Lake Isabella’s winter catfish bite that just took off three weeks ago and has continued this week. Other decent bets include Silverwood, Castaic and Cachuma, but there has been very little pressure on cats anywhere.