MATTHEWS’ PICKS OF THE WEEK
1. The Lake Henshaw crappie bite has been wide open on small jigs tipped with meal worms or Crappie Nibbles. Most of these fish have been from 3/4-pound to 1 1/2 pounds with some in the two-pound class. Many anglers are getting full 25-fish limits on these quality crappie. Call the Henshaw store at 760-782-3501 for the latest here.
2. Crowley Lake was simply wide open for the trout opener this past weekend and with all the crowds gone, it is the spot to fish for angler who wants to get into the high country and pick up a limit of trout – with the possibility of getting a nice brown. Most of the fish were from one to three pounds. For an update, call Crowley Lake Fish Camp at 760-935-4301 or go to www.crowleylakefishcamp.com.
3. The Irvine Lake catfish bite produced a couple of huge blue cats (47 and 32 pounds) this past week, and the bite has been excellent for the handful of anglers fishing cut baits on the flats. This hot action is almost being overlooked because of the good bass and trout action here. For an update or tips, call the tackle shop at 714-649-9111 or go to www.irvinelake.net.
FRESHWATER HOT SPOTS
TROUT: The Sierra trout season opener was excellent throughout the region thanks to balmy weather, ice-free waters, and heavy DFG plants. Top picks for this week are Crowley Lake, Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, the entire June Lake loop, and the Twin Lakes at Bridgeport. The entire Bishop Creek drainage is also a very good bet. In urban Southern California plants have ended many places. Top bets are western Riverside County’s Corona Lake, the Orange County’s Santa Ana River Lakes and Irvine Lake. In San Diego County, Jennings, Cuyamaca, Wohlford, are pretty fair bets. Check the water-by-water reports for details. Big Bear Lake remains very good bite along the north shore and in most bays, and the marinas are all now open.
BLACK BASS: The bass action remains good most places with the fish still in the shallows, but the spawn is winding down many places. The bite is hot on plastics, reaction baits, and swim baits. Top bets include Perris, Diamond Valley, Skinner, Casitas (the shad came up this week), and the whole lower Colorado River. Cachuma and Santa Margarita, and even the higher elevation waters like Piru, Pyramid, and Silverwood are also good. The Wednesday opener at Barrett Lake was awesome -- anglers averaged over 300 bass caught and released each.
STRIPED BASS: The top pick is again the California aqueduct near Taft, but this action is just good, not the wide-open awesome it has been. Lake Silverwood has been surprisingly good with a lot of quality fish into the 20-plus pound class, and the bait bite at Diamond Valley is good on fish to six pounds with a few bigger swimbait fish. Skinner is also pretty fair on school-sized fish at the inlet. Elsewhere, the striper bites all are very spotty right now. Pyramid has been improving steadily. On the Colorado River, the Willow Beach bite is still an option, but not a lot of big fish again this past week. Mojave and Havasu are both starting to turn on as the fish start to move around and move upriver for spawning.
PANFISH: Crappie bites have been up and down this past week. Henshaw is the easy top pick, but the bites at Isabella and Elsinore slowed down. The bite at Piru stayed pretty good. Bites at Otay, Hodges, and Sutherland all stayed off, and Silverwood also slowed way down. Nacimiento and Santa Margarita are also worth watching. The Salton Sea tilapia bite has been excellent with the full ice-chest mode the rule much of the past week, but winds hammer that bite. The bluegill and redear bites are starting to take off a lot of places, too. The bite of note is the one at Lake Perris and Diamond Valley Lake could again be a sleeper pick this week.
CATFISH: While fishing pressure is light, the flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River seems to be getting better by the day. More and more 12 to 30-pound fishing are being landed each week in the lower river from Havasu south. The channel cats are also on a pretty good bite. Outside of the river, Irvine Lake and Hesperia Lake are the top bets, both with very good and neglected fishing.
For our complete fishing report, including the water-by-water reports and our saltwater update, please go to our new partners at FISHHOUND at this direct link: