Freshwater Hot Spots

TROUT: The Sierra Nevada is the best bet for trout. Anywhere and everywhere in the region is producing fish, but the bite have been off this week from the opener. Top bets include Crowley Lake, Convict Lake and Big Virginia Lake (ice fishing!). In Southern California the top bets are Big Bear Lake for holdover rainbows to three pounds with a lot of limits reported for both shore and troll anglers, Cachuma Lake for big planted rainbows, and Silverwood Lake. Jess Ranch Lakes in the high desert has been pretty good. Cuyamaca may be the best bet in San Diego County with heavy plants this season that continue into June.

BLACK BASS: The bass action is entering a post-spawn phase most places and a lot of fish are now up chasing shad and other baitfish and the reaction bait bite is really starting to take off. Most fish are still showing on or near the bottom on plastics and nightcrawlers. Top bets (in no real particular order) are Diamond Valley, Skinner, Perris, Casitas, Castaic, Piru, Cachuma, Puddingstone, Pyramid, Wohlford, Lower Otay, Sutherland, Hodges and Dixon. Silverwood is getting better by the day. On the Colorado River the lower river is pretty much wide open but winds have hampered the fishing, which is true of a lot of waters again this past week. The bites are also now breaking wide open in Lake Havasu, Lake Mohave and everything in between, too, but those winds…. Smallmouth also turning on in the lower river.

STRIPED BASS: The striper action has been generally slow to fair everywhere except Skinner this past week. Skinner is a good bet at the dam and inlet areas on cut baits and reaction baits with the water coming up again. The topwater and near-surface bite has come on Castaic with fish to nearly 20 pounds reported. Still fair bites on smaller fish at Pyramid and Silverwood. Darn few reports on stripers from Diamond Valley again, but the launch ramp will reopen May 18. The California aqueduct is still fair to good, but it is still producing mostly sub-legal fish. On the Colorado River, the stripers are fair in Lake Mohave and Havasu with fish moving into the main basins of both lakes chasing shad. An occasional big fish continues to show from the river near Bullhead City-Laughlin, and the action on smaller fish to three pounds has been fair to good.

PANFISH: Big news is the tilapia action at the Salton Sea broke wide open three weeks ago and continues hot except for brief lulls caused by wind. The fish are in the one-pound class. The bluegill or redear are starting to turn on just about everywhere, but the top bets are Skinner (a lake record three-pound redear), Perris, and Diamond Valley. Meanwhile, the crappie bites have all pretty much died down everywhere, but Cachuma showed signs of improving this week. 

CATFISH: Lake Isabella continues to have a good bite on catfish. The action is on jumbo meal worms or live minnows, but nice stringers continue to show. The California Aqueduct has been as good or better than Isabella, with a lot of fish six to seven pounds over the past several weeks. Dip baits and sardines are the hot bet on the aqueduct. Santa Ana River Lakes is now stocking catfish weekly, and Hesperia Lake has started its weekly catfish plants three weeks ago. Both are pretty good. The flathead catfish bite is very good on the lower Colorado River from Blythe to Yuma with fish to 20-plus pounds reported again this past week.

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