By: Jim Matthews
TROUT: The Eastern Sierra Nevada remains very good with hot spots still Lower Twin Lake at Bridgeport (for trophy browns) and Crowley Lake for both volume and trophies. Both produced trout over five pounds again this past week. But the whole region was pretty good, including the Bridgeport Reservoir (boat anglers), Virginia Lakes, Silver Lake in the June Lake Loop (actually the whole loop has been good), and Convict Lake. In Southern California, the urban winter trout season is pretty much over most places. Top bets are Green Valley Lake, which just “officially” opened its trout season two weeks ago, and Cachuma Lake, which is still fair to good after plants of 10,000-pounds of rainbows last month. Big Bear Lake remains tough but it was improving rapidly at mid-week.
BLACK BASS: The bass are moving into a baitfish-chasing mode in most waters and this week’s warmer weather has intensified that. Top bets, about in order of action, remain Lower Otay, Skinner, Castaic, Casitas, Piru, Pyramid, El Capitan, Diamond Valley Lake and Silverwood. All of these places are pretty good. 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 this past week, but things should finally start turning around with the weather change. Top bets are Pyramid, Castaic, Silverwood, Skinner and Diamond Valley, but all of them were pretty equal this past week. On the Colorado River, the bites are really starting to take off with the Bullhead-Laughlin stretch the best bet in the region, but there are more and more fish showing in Havasu and up through Topoc Gorge.
PANFISH: The tilapia bite at the Salton Sea surged back on a month ago and has been good again this past week with only minor lulls due to wind. It still looks to be a top bet and the weekend weather is supposed to be good again in the desert. The redear and bluegill bites are breaking open on the Colorado River, but other local panfish bites seemed to go in the tank. The one exception has been the crappie bite at Casitas Lake, which again produced a few nice catches of fish to 2-8 on live shad.
CATFISH: The flathead bite on the Colorado River in generally good all along the lower river with fish from 20 to 40 pounds showing in decent numbers (considering fishing pressure is still pretty light). There also continues to be a good channel catfish bite in the California aqueduct near Taft with fish running eight to 12 pounds or even bigger. Lake Skinner’s catfish action surged on this past week, and there were improved bites at Cachuma, Piru, Pyramid, Castaic, Casitas and Silverwood. The Lake Elsinore catfish bite is also still a fair to good bet. For planted fish, Santa Ana River Lakes is the top bet and its big “Bluezilla” catfish at 78 pounds was caught and released this past week.