By: Jim Matthews
TROUT: Winter trout season is still in full swing in Southern California with most lakes stocking weekly or alternating weeks. Top bets with weekly plants include Santa Ana River Lake (with fish to 16 pounds this week), Laguna Niguel (with lots of limits and fish to 10 pounds), Dixon Lake, Irvine Lake, Lake Poway, Corona Lake, Lake Jennings and Lake Silverwood (22 weeks in a row of DFW fish finally ended this week but the bite is still hot). Lake Skinner also jumped into the top bets for trout after three plants since Feb. 17 and another slated for this week. All of the San Bernardino County parks — Glen Helen, Prado, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, and Mojave Narrows — are getting weekly 1,000-pound plants. There is also an excellent bite on the upper Owens River “steelhead” above Crowley Lake in the Sierra for fly anglers. The Blake Jones trout derby is also this weekend in Bishop if you don’t fly fish.
BLACK BASS: The bass are starting to move heavily into the spawn with fish moving into the shallows and fanning out nests in most waters across Southern California. Top bets, about in order of action, are El Capitan, Skinner, Castaic, Diamond Valley, Casitas, Piru, Perris, Pyramid, and Lower Otay. The big fish of the week was a 15-plus out of Dixon. On the Colorado River, the bites have also started to come around, especially from Lake Havasu south, but there is still such light fishing pressure it’s hard to tell.
STRIPED BASS: The striper action has been fair and improving. Skinner, Silverwood, Pyramid, Skinner, and Diamond Valley all have improved over the past week, although not monster fish were reported this week. Pyramid has been producing the most double digit fish after DFW plants (and one was slated for this 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 here is the huge crappie coming out of Lake Isabella. The bites at Casitas Lake and Elsinore were hard to gauge with less fishing pressure this past week, but both continued to produce at least a few fish on small jigs. There have also been crappie bites at Lower Otay, El Capitan, Hodges, and Silverwood that bear watching. Isabella also has a surprising bluegill bite with some real slabs over a pound. Diamond Valley Lake is getting little panfish pressure, but there continue to be some toad redear topping two pounds caught. Perris and Casitas also showed off a few one-pound plus bluegill.
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. Corona Lake cranked out a 30-plus pound cat.