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, Laguna Niguel, Dixon Lake, Irvine Lake, Lake Poway, Lake Jennings, and Lake Silverwood (25 weeks in a row of DFW fish). Lake Skinner also jumped into the top bets for trout after five plants since Feb. 17 and another 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. Corona Lake was closed due to low water.
BLACK BASS: The bass are heavily into the spawn with fish in the shallows across Southern California. Top bets, about in order of action, are Skinner, El Capitan, Skinner, Castaic, Diamond Valley, Casitas, Piru, Perris, Pyramid, and Lower Otay. On the Colorado River, the bites have also been very good, 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 slow to fair but improving. Skinner, Silverwood, Pyramid, and Diamond Valley all have improved over the past week, although no 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 slow to fair (but improving), especially in the river above Havasu all the way to Davis Dam.
PANFISH: The biggest news here is the huge crappie coming out of Lake Isabella, while the bite lulled in the howling winds early this week, it is still a top bet. The bite at Casitas Lake slowed with the action only happening on live shad, but the Elsinore crappie stayed pretty fair and all are quality fish to nearly three pounds. There have also been crappie bites at Lower Otay, El Capitan, and Hodges, that bear watching, but none were hot this past week. 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. The best bite may be at Lake Isabella, but no one is fishing for the cats with the crappie bite there.