MATTHEWS’ PICKS OF THE WEEK
1. If you’ve been waiting to jump on a tuna boat, now is the time. The 1 1/2-day and two-day boats out of San Diego have been seeing exceptional action 140 to 150 miles from San Diego on a great mixed bag of open-water fish and on floating kelp paddies since late Monday this week. Bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, dorado, and even a few albacore are showing in this hot bite. The bluefin are all nice fish from 20 to 30 pounds and some are to 70 pounds and the yellowfin and yellowtail are in the 20 to 25-pound class. All the San Diego-based landings are running trips. And with better weather conditions and perfect water conditions these fish will quickly be in one-day range in good volume -- and the bluefin are already showing off the Coronado Islands now, just not in great numbers.
2. The striped bass bite has stayed pretty much wide open at Diamond Valley Lake for the past two weeks with the fish showing in boils and in deeper water for bait and troll anglers. Lots of four to eight-pound fish with some to nearly 26 pounds again this past week. Add in the hot bluegill, bass, and catfish action, and it’s easy to make this lake a top pick. For an update on this bite and tips where to go, check with the marina at 951-926-7201 or Last Chance Bait and Tackle in Hemet at 951-658-7410.
3. While there are good catfish bites throughout the region, Hesperia Lake is a top pick because it has consistently been producing quality fish over 15 pounds each week, in addition to lots of two to four-pound fish. Those trophy fish from 10 to 15 pounds or more are a real possibility. The early morning and late evening action is the best, and there’s always a shot at a big sturgeon, too. For an update on this bite, call the lake tackle shop at 800-521-6332 or 760-244-5951.
FRESHWATER HOT SPOTS
TROUT: The best action in Southern California has been at Big Bear Lake with limits of holdover rainbows to three pounds or better for trollers working from the West Ramp to the dam. Green Valley Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains has been very good, and Jenks Lake is good. Lake Hemet is also pretty good. There are also a few holdover fish being landed by deep trollers at Silverwood, Cachuma, and Casitas -- in about that order. The bite also remains fair to good at Cuyamaca. Trout action in the Sierra Nevada remains fair to good overall, with the June Lake loop (especially Silver), Virgina Lakes, and Bridgeport Reservoir all top bets. Other good bets include Twin Lakes (Bridgeport), South Lake and the South Fork of Bishop Creek. For fly anglers, Hot Creek and the East Walker River are probably the best bets. Also some very good action in Bridgeport Reservoir.
BLACK BASS: It’s surface bite season and the full moon this weekend should really turn on this bite everywhere. While the overall bass action could probably only be rated fair all across Southern California, almost all lakes have some good topwater and reaction bait action early and late in the day. During the day, the fish generally sound to deeper structure where they can be caught on dark plastics, but that bite is much tougher. Top bet is still Diamond Valley, but the bites are decent at Sutherland, Otay, El Capitan, Skinner, Perris, Silverwood, Casitas, Castaic, Piru, and Cachuma. On the Central Coast, Santa Margarita, Nacimiento, San Antonio, and Lopez are all still pretty fair for bass. On the Colorado River, the Topoc Gorge smallmouth bite has been good, but except for the narrow window of early morning Havasu and the lower river has been tougher.
STRIPED BASS: Striper bites continued to improve in the region this past week with Diamond Valley breaking wide open, and the bites at Castaic finally getting better, too. San Antonio on the Central Coast remains a top bet with good quality (six to 12 pounds) and Pyramid is very consistent, but on smaller fish (one to three pounds). Silverwood is still a sleeper pick with a pretty fair bite. On the Colorado River, there have been a lot of quality fish to 20 pounds at Willow Beach, while Havasu and Topoc Gorge are producing one to four-pound fish in a tough bite.
PANFISH: Big news is that the Salton Sea tilapia bite has finally slowed way down with only a few smaller fish showing now. But there’s still very good bluegill and redear action at Diamond Valley Lake. The redear bite is also still fair to good in Havasu and Topoc Gorge area on the Colorado River, but both have slowed. The bluegill and redear bites are also still good at Perris, Casitas, and most other waters with these fish. Piru and Castaic are fair to good. The crappie bite came back on at Henshaw this past week and improved again at Cachuma and Piru. All three a pretty good picks. Also a decent pick on crappie at Castaic, Cuyamaca (small fish), and Santa Margarita and Lopez on the Central Coast.
CATFISH: The Colorado River is fair to good for catfish with flatheads and channels showing in good numbers. There are high flows on the lower river, but the action has been good on flatheads to 35 pounds and channels to eight pounds again this week. Southern California lakes are also all starting to turn on with more and more cats showing, and stocking programs are in full swing now at most places that plant. The top picks are Hesperia Lake and Elsinore, but Corona Lake and Santa Ana River Lakes are being planted with cats each week and weekly trophy catfish plants go in each Friday. Other good catfish bets are Irvine, Skinner, Silverwood, and Pyramid. All the San Bernardino County Parks are also being planted weekly, and Dixon Lake is also good with weekly plants.
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