By: Jim Matthews
TROUT: Winter trout season is in full swing 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 (19 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 with fish to four pounds in the past week. There is also an excellent bite on the upper Owens River above Crowley Lake in the Sierra for fly anglers.
BLACK BASS: The bass are starting to break out of their winter patterns at most of the lower-elevation, warmer waters throughout the southern half of the state. The fish are poking into the sun-warmed shallows and fish are being caught in as little as four feet of water some places. Top bets, about in order of action, are El Capitan, Skinner, Castaic, Diamond Valley, Casitas, Piru, and Lower Otay. On the Colorado River, the bites have also started to come around, especially from Lake Havasu south.
STRIPED BASS: The striper action has been fair. The top bite has been the California aqueduct near Taft, with Skinner, Silverwood, Pyramid, and Diamond Valley all slow to fair this past week. On the Colorado River, almost all the bites have gone or remain very slow, but a few more fish were reported from the Bullhead stretch of the river this week and the Havasu fish are showing signs of life.
PANFISH: The biggest news remains the crappie bite on quality fish at Casitas Lake, but this is a finesse bite. There have also been on-and-off bites at Isabella (on this past week), Lower Otay, El Capitan, and to a lesser extent at Silverwood. Lake Skinner has been cranking out a few big bluegill to two pounds each of the past three weeks, now, but it’s certainly not wide open.
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 with almost no pressure. Blue and channel catfish continue to show very sporadically in most in SoCal reservoirs. The Lake Isabella winter catfish bite that broke open over a month ago remains a pretty fair bet.