MATTHEWS’ PICKS OF THE WEEK
1. Lake Elsinore is the number one pick with week for its catfish and wiper action. The cats are running up to 10 pounds or more and showing on cut baits and shad. The wipers are up into the same size class and chopping through schools of shad most mornings and really good on the live shad. For an update on this bite, check with William’s Bait, Tackle, and Boat Rental at 951-642-0640.
2. Winds hammered the Sierra this week, but Bridgeport Reservoir has been wide open on rainbow and browns to five pounds, and the bite has been good for fly, lure, and bait anglers on these quality holdover fish. Buckeye Bay has been the top spot. For an update on this bite, check with Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport at760-932-7707.
3. The striped bass bite in the Colorado River from the upper end of Lake Havasu all the way up into the Bullhead City-Laughlin region is really taking off as the fish move upriver to spawn in the moving water. Anglers are seeing a lot of better quality fish from four to 10 pounds in this bite. Most of the fish are showing on drifted anchovies in the bigger pools, but some anglers are getting fish on shad-like cranks and swim baits. For an update on this action, check with Riviera Marina at 928-763-8550 in the Bullhead area. Phil’s Western Trader at 928-768-4954 in the Needles-Topoc region, or Bass Tackle Master at 928-854-2277 on Lake Havasu.
FRESHWATER HOT SPOTS
TROUT: The trout bite throughout the Eastern Sierra region remains excellent and access to more high elevation waters have opened up this past week. Top picks in a region filled with good fishing would be Bridgeport Reservoir, Crowley Lake, the entire June Lake loop, and the Twin Lakes at Bridgeport. The entire Bishop Creek drainage is also a very good bet, especially South Lake with a plant of huge Alper’s fish last week and rainbows to nine pounds were reported. In urban Southern California plants have ended most places and the bites have gone in the tank quickly. Top bet is Jess Ranch 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 are getting DFG fish now. Lake Hemet and Lake Cuyamaca have also been excellent, mostly on pan-sized fish.
BLACK BASS: The bass action remains good most places, but the spawn is pretty much over throughout the region. The bite is hot on plastics, reaction baits, and swim baits. Good surface action is also starting most places. Top bets include Perris, Diamond Valley, Skinner, Casitas, 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: The wiper bite at Lake Elsinore took off last week and has stayed very good with fish to 10 pounds this week. For stripers, With the California aqueduct near Taft slowed to just fair, and 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 cooled a little but should come back on during the full moon. 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 slowed, but it’s still fair, and the crappie bites at Piru and Elsinore also sputtered a little. The Isabella bite is no “crappie mania” but there’s a spotty bite in deeper water on minnows. Crappie bites at Sutherland, Otay, and Hodges are worth watching 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 when winds didn’t kill the bite. The bluegill and redear bites really exploded in a lot of places. Top bets for nice stringers are Lake Perris, Lake Skinner, 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 really good to excellent for wild fish to 10 pounds or more.
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