By: Jim Matthews
TROUT: Winter trout season is winding down with many plant seasons ending. Top bets with weekly plants include Santa Ana River Lake, Irvine Lake, Lake Poway, Lake Jennings, Dixon Lake and Lake Silverwood (28 weeks in a row with DFW plants). All of the San Bernardino County parks — Glen Helen, Prado, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, and Mojave Narrows — are still getting weekly 1,000-pound plants through April 23. A reminder: The Eastern Sierra trout opener is April 25. Very little snow and most waters are completely ice free. Should be an excellent opener.
BLACK BASS: The bass are mostly moving out of the spawn and there have been some lulls in the bite. Top bets, about in order of action, are Diamond Valley (launch ramp closed Wednesday this week), El Capitan, Skinner, Castaic, Casitas, Piru, Pyramid and Lower Otay. On the Colorado River, the bites have also been very good, especially from Lake Havasu south.
STRIPED BASS: The striper action has been slow to fair but improving. Skinner, Silverwood, Pyramid and Diamond Valley all improved over the past week’s poor moon phase and windy conditions. On the Colorado River, almost all the bites remain slow to fair (but improving), especially in the river above Havasu all the way to Davis Dam. Mohave produced an 18-pound fish this past week.
PANFISH: The big news is the tilapia bite breaking wide open on the Salton Sea. The second biggest news is the good crappie bite at Lake Cachuma. Most of the other crappie bites remain in the tank, including Lake Isabella and Elsinore. Casitas Lake has a fair live-shad only bite, and there are a few crappie showing at El Capitan, Hodges and Lower Otay. Also a quiet bite at Santa Margarita Lake on the Central Coast. While most waters are still just getting going for bluegill and redear, Diamond Valley Lake is getting little panfish pressure and continues to produce a few nice redear. Perris and Casitas also showed off a few nice panfish, including a three-pound class redear at Casitas.
CATFISH: The Lake Elsinore catfish bite broke open two weeks ago and has been hot ever since. Cachuma Lake or the California Aqueduct near Taft are probably the second-best bets, with the kick-off of Santa Ana River Lakes stocking season giving it a distant third place. The flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River remains slow, however, the channel catfish bite is improving.