Freshwater Hot Spots – Dec. 24, 2015

TROUT: Santa Ana River Lake has been fair to good with rainbows and Lightning Trout planted this week, including some trophy fish. It has weekly plants. Laguna Niguel got trout last week but will not get them until the first full week of January. Irvine Lake is slow to fair. San Bernardino County park lakes will get county fish for the fourth week in a row and all received DFW fish last week. That makes Yucaipa, Glen Helen, Cucamonga-Guasti, Mojave Narrows, and Prado top picks. Casitas Lake also received another 2,500-pound plant of Nebraska Tailwalkers last week and DFW fish two weeks ago. It has been very good, especially for boat anglers. In the high desert, both Hesperia Lake and Jess Ranch have been fair to good for two-pound class fish with a bigger fish possible at both. Big Bear Lake is also good (but with very cold mornings and sheet ice when the bite is best) for holdover rainbows.

BLACK BASS: The bass bite is starting to slow with fewer and fewer fish up chasing baitfish, and the window for this action is shrinking even when they do come up. More and more fish are suspending and holding in deeper water on points and live bait, plastics and jigging spoons (or ice jigs) are becoming the go-to baits. Top bets are Casitas, Perris, Castaic, and Diamond Valley. Piru is fair but getting little pressure. Lower Otay has been fair and Pyramid and Silverwood are pretty slow. On the Colorado River, the smallmouth and largemouth bites have also been fair from Lake Havasu south into the lower river backwaters and up in Lake Mohave and this is still mostly a reaction bait bite.

STRIPED BASS: The striper action had been fair across most of Southern California’s reservoirs, but the bites have generally been slowing. Skinner probably is the best bet of the four major reservoirs with a good bite on live shad, but Pyramid, Castaic, and Silverwood are all still producing fish, in about that order of preference. The California aqueduct near Taft and west of Shafter continues to be a fair to good bet. On the Colorado River, the bite is best in Lake Mohave with a lot of one to three pound fish but 10 to 15 pounders showing each week. In fact, this might be the best striper bite in the region, but itís a long haul for SoCal anglers. Havasu is also fair near the dam. Other areas have slowed way down.

PANFISH: Fishing pressure is light and most of the bites have slowed way down. Even the bluegill bites at Lake Skinner and Lake Perris slowed again this week, and the crappie bite at Cachuma Lake also tanked. A few crappie to two pounds were reported at Piru this week.

CATFISH: Every place is slowing down. The best bites are Lake Isabella and Lake Skinner. Isabella fish are showing best on live minnows, while the Skinner action is best on cut baits, especially chicken liver. Cachuma also has a pretty fair bite along most shorelines. A few catfish are being reported at Silverwood, Piru, Pyramid, and Castaic, but they all are slower than last week.

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