MATTHEWS’ PICKS OF THE WEEK
1. The bluegill and redear bites are very good to excellent a lot of places right now, but Diamond Valley Lake has cranked out some pig ‘gills to two pounds this past week in a hot bite on the dam steps and in most coves with stickups. The action is on the usual array of baits, but small jigs tipped with meal worms or wax worms have been the hot set-up. The best bite has been early in the morning. For an update on this bite, call the marina at 951-926-7201 or Last Chance Bait and Tackle at 951-658-7410.
2. For yet another week, Hesperia Lake remains in the No. 2 spot because of the excellent, limit-style fishing for catfish. The best action is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, but a lot of nice stringers of catfish with fish to nearly 20 pounds were reported this past week and one-hour limits were common again. The bite has been good on any cut bait doused with Love Sauce. You don’t need a state fishing license here, either. For an update on this bite call the tackle shop at 800-521-6332 or 760-244-5951.
3. The striped bass bite has been steadily improving at Castaic Lake over the past couple of weeks, and its full-on summer bite is starting. There has been hot topwater action early and late in the day when the fish come up on shad, and then a good bait bite at Sharron’s Rest and the buoy line the rest of the day. Most of the fish are 1 1/2 to three pounds, but some bigger fish are showing. For an update on the bite call the marina at 661-775-6232
FRESHWATER HOT SPOTS
TROUT: The upper Kern River has been excellent above Lake Isabella and it’s a top pick. The trout bite throughout the Eastern Sierra region remains excellent and most high elevation waters are open and have good action. 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. 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 good in the main body of the lake and deep-water shorelines along the north shore. Jenks Lake and Gregory are getting DFG fish now. Lake Hemet and Lake Cuyamaca have also been producing limits on pan-sized trout.
BLACK BASS: The bass action remains good most places on plastics, reaction baits, and swim baits. Good surface action is also ongoing early and late in the day at most waters. Top bets include Diamond Valley, Skinner, Casitas, Perris, and the whole lower Colorado River. Cachuma and Santa Margarita, and even the higher elevation waters like Piru, Pyramid, and Silverwood are also good. Add Isabella to the mix, too.
STRIPED BASS: On the Colorado River, the striper bite from the upper end of Havasu all the way upriver to Bullhead City is still good, but the average size fish has dropped into the one to two-pound class. But there are still quite a few six to 10 pounders showing. The bite has been surprisingly good. The Willow Beach bite is fair to good on bigger fish. Closer to home, the California aqueduct near Taft slowed, so the best bet for volume catches of two to five-pound fish is Castaic, Diamond Valley, Silverwood, Skinner, or Pyramid -- in about that order. Elsewhere, the striper bites all are very spotty right now, and no place is producing any quality fish. The wiper bite at Lake Elsinore continues to muddle along with a few nice fish showing each week, but no wide open bites.
PANFISH: The crappie bites have pretty much tanked in the region, with only a few fish showing at Henshaw, Cachuma, and Sutherland. The Salton Sea tilapia bite has been excellent with the full ice-chest mode the rule much of the past week. Mornings have been best with fish to two pounds. The bluegill and redear bites continue to be hot in a lot of places. Top bets for nice stringers are Diamond Valley Lake, Lake Perris, Lake Skinner, 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: The flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River is very good. Lots of eight to 15-pound fish and cats to 30 pounds are being reported each week now in the lower river from Havasu south. The channel cats are also on a pretty good bite. Outside of the river, Hesperia Lake, Santa Ana River Lakes, Irvine lake, and Corona Lake are the top bets for planted fish (all are planting regularly), and Elsinore is really good to excellent for wild fish to 10 pounds or more.
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