MATTHEWS’ PICKS OF THE WEEK
1. The top picks are all panfish bites. Staying in the top spot is Lake Henshaw because its crappie bite was wide open again this past week. The best bite is 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 or better class. Many anglers are getting full 25-fish limits on these quality crappie. It has simply been the best fishing in the region. Call the Henshaw store at 760-782-3501 for the latest here.
2. The sleeper pick that is nearly as good as Henshaw is the crappie action at Piru Lake. Most anglers are getting at least 10 to 15 crappie and there are a lot of toads in this bite with fish to three pounds reported. The best bite is on small white jigs tipped with meal worms or red worms fished from Reasoner Cove up through the narrows. For an update on this bite call the main office at 805-521-1500, x208.
3. Yes, it’s been hot (approaching 100 degrees), but the tilapia action at the Salton Sea has been as epic as the crappie bite at Lake Henshaw, and the fish are in the same size range running from 3/4-pound to 1 1/2-pounds. It’s time to fill the ice chest. This is a 100 percent nightcrawler bite. The bad news is that the state recreation area is targeted for closure June 30 as part of the budget crisis. For an update on the action, call the Visitor Center at 760-393-3810.
FRESHWATER HOT SPOTS
TROUT: Big news was a 19-12 brown trout caught in Pleasant Valley Reservoir in the Eastern Sierra. The trout bite throughout this region remains excellent and access to more high elevation waters have opened up this past week (Tioga and Ellery Lakes along with all of the Mammoth Lakes waters). Top picks in a region filled with good fishing would be Crowley Lake, Bridgeport Reservoir, 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 most places and the bites tank quickly. Top bets are western Riverside County’s Corona Lake and Jess Ranch Lakes in Hesperia (which is continuing to get weekly plants). In the local mountains, Big Bear Lake remains very good along the north shore and in most bays, and Jenks Lake and Gregory were planted last week. Lake Hemet and Lake Cuyamaca have also been excellent, mostly on pan-sized fish.
BLACK BASS: The bass action remains good most places with the fish still in the shallows, but the spawn is winding down or over most places. The bite is hot on plastics, reaction baits, and swim baits. Top bets include Perris, Diamond Valley, Skinner, Casitas (the shad were up for the second week in a row), and the whole lower Colorado River. Cachuma and Santa Margarita, and even the higher elevation waters like Piru, Pyramid, and Silverwood are also good.
STRIPED BASS: With the California aqueduct near Taft slowing to just fair this past week, the top bet for a quality fish is Lake Silverwood and the best bet for volume catches of two to five-pound fish is either Diamond Valley or Skinner. Elsewhere, the striper bites all are very spotty right now. On the Colorado River, the Willow Beach bite looked to be surging during the full moon, with several fish in the 20-pound class caught. Mojave and Havasu are both starting to turn on as the fish start to move around and move upriver for spawning.
PANFISH: Henshaw’s crappie bite is the easy top pick, but the crappie bites at Piru and Elsinore are both worth noting. The Isabella bite is no “crappie mania” but there’s a fair bite in deeper water on minnows. Crappie bites at Otay and Hodges tanked this past week, but Sutherland came back strong with fish to nearly three pounds. Casitas has been just fair, but some pigs to three pounds have been caught on live shad. Silverwood remained just fair with some bluegill joining the crappie. The Salton Sea tilapia bite has been excellent with the full ice-chest mode the rule much of the past week. The bluegill and redear bites really exploded in a lot of places this past week. Top bets for nice stringers are Lake Perris, Lake Skinner (a sleeper pick), Diamond Valley Lake, Otay, and Hodges. The bite on the all four of the Central Coast lakes – Lopez, Santa Margarita, Nacimiento, and San Antonio – are good, in about that order.
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, Santa Ana River Lake, Corona Lake, and Hesperia Lake are the top bets for planted fish (all three are planting weekly), and Elsinore is turning on for wild fish.
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