By: Jim Matthews
TROUT: Winter trout season is starting to wind down some places, but it’s still full swing at others. Top bets with weekly plants include Santa Ana River Lake, Laguna Niguel (last plant went in last week), Dixon Lake, Irvine Lake, Lake Poway, Lake Jennings, and Lake Silverwood (25 weeks in a row of DFW fish ended this week). Lake Skinner is still fair but it received its last fish, too. All of the San Bernardino County parks — Glen Helen, Prado, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa and Mojave Narrows — are still 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. In some lakes, the spawn is winding down. Top bets, about in order of action, are Diamond Valley, Skinner, El Capitan, Castaic, Casitas, Piru, 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 again over the past week, although no monster fish were reported 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 big news is the tilapia bite breaking wide open on the Salton Sea. The scond biggest news here is Lake Isabella bite going in the tank with just a few fish being caught. The bite at Casitas Lake also slowed down to nearly nothing, as did the Elsinore crappie action. There are still a few crappie showing 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, including a new lake record redear at nearly five pounds. Perris and Casitas also showed off a few one-pound plus bluegill.
CATFISH: The Lake Elsinore catfish bite broke wide open last week and has been hot ever since. The fish are shallow and showing on cut baits (mostly frozen shad). Most are two to three pounds. The flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River remains slow, but there were some signs of a turn-around this week. The channel catfish bite all along the Colorado River is really starting to turn on with a lot of two- to four-pound class fish showing. Blue and channel catfish continue to show very sporadically in most in SoCal reservoirs, but that is changing.