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 Jenningsand Lake Silverwood (15 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. 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. 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 has stayed on track in spite of the rain and cold this weekend. The top bites have been at Skinner (the fish moved back to the inlet), Silverwood and Pyramid, but the bites slowed more at Castaic. Diamond Valley is still fair at best, but showed some improvement this week. The California aqueduct near Taft remains a very good striper bet with a lot of fish to six pounds on rip baits. On the Colorado River, almost all the bites have gone in the tank with the cold and none have come back on.
PANFISH: All most all the panfish bites stayed tough this past week. Only a few redear and bluegill are still showing at Lake Perris. There was, however, the beginning signs that the winter crappie bite at Lake Silverwood was starting, with a few fish reported off the marina docks on jigs tipped with bait last week. There is also a fledgling bite at Lower Otay in San Diego County.
CATFISH: The flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River remains in the tank, but the channel catfish bite in the Palo Verde lagoon has continued fair. Blue and channel catfish continue to show very sporadically in most in SoCal reservoirs. The Lake Isabella winter catfish bite that broke open a month ago has slowed to just fair. Few other catfish reports in the past week.