By: Jim Matthews
FRESHWATER HOT SPOTS
TROUT: The trout season opener in the Sierra kicks off this weekend and the whole region looks to be good to excellent. DFW has planted even more places than normal because there are no roadside waters with ice this year, including the Virginia Lakes and Rock Creek Lake. Everything in the Bishop Creek drainage is ice-free too. Top spots? Pick a favorite and go. It will be good. In Southern California, the urban winter trout season is winding down with most places done with trout plants as of this week. Top bets include Cachuma Lake, which was heavily planted last week for its annual derby, and Lake Silverwood, which is still getting DFW trout weekly (this is the 29th week in a row). All of the San Bernardino County parks — Glen Helen, Prado, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa and Mojave Narrows – received final county plants this week and many also had DFW fish. Santa Ana River Lake and Irvine Lake are also still decent bets.
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 but windy conditions have hampered some bites. 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.
PANFISH: The big news is the tilapia bite breaking wide open on the Salton Sea. The second biggest news is the redear and bluegill bites look to be breaking open on the Colorado River. Also still fair to good crappie action 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. Diamond Valley Lake is getting little panfish pressure and continues to produce a few nice redear. Perris also showed off a few nice bluegill and redear this past week.
CATFISH: The California aqueduct near Taft is hands-down the best bet this week with fish running eight to 20 pounds. The Lake Elsinore catfish bite is still a good bet. Cachuma Lake is also a decent bet. For planted fish, Santa Ana River Lakes has been pretty good this past week. The flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River remains oddly slow.