MATTHEWS’ PICKS OF THE WEEK
1. The Lake Perris bluegill and redear bite just won’t go away. Limit-style fishing is still the word here with float-tube, boat, and even shore anglers getting a lot of nice panfish to 1 1/2 pounds at east end of the island, off Bernasconi Beach, the tire reef, and the Rock Climber’s Cove area. The best bite has been on red worms, but small jigs or trout plastics, wax worms, or crickets are also getting fish. For an update on the bite check with the marina staff at 951-657-2179.
2. It was a battle for the number two spot between Hesperia Lake or Lake Elsinore for the best catfish action. But Hesperia Lake remains in the No. 2 spot again this week for its consistent limit-style fishing. The best action is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and some catfish are pigs, with fish topping 14 pounds this past week. 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. Fly-fishermen take note: Crowley Lake is off the charts. The trout have all stacked up in the inlets and bays with fresh water inflows and are just hammering the midge larvae and damsel patterns. The bite is better this year than it has been in several seasons, perhaps ever. Lots of quality two to four-pound rainbows, along with a few bigger cutthroats and browns. For an update on this fishing, call The Troutfitter at 760-934-2517 or the Crowley Lake Fish Camp at 760-935-4301.
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 Crowley Lake, which is wide open for fly anglers, and Bridgeport Reservoir is just a notch behind. The Virginia Lakes are also excellent. 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 Apple Valley (which is continuing to get weekly plants), but it has been just fair. In the local mountains, Big Bear Lake remains fair in the main body of the lake and deep-water shorelines along the north shore with the fish sounding with warm weather. Jenks Lake and Gregory both have been pretty fair. Lake Hemet and Lake Cuyamaca have also been producing limits on pan-sized trout and a new lake record at over 15 pounds came from Cuyamaca.
BLACK BASS: The bass action remains good most places on plastics, reaction baits, and swim baits. The surface frog bite is good most places, too. Top bets include Diamond Valley, Skinner, Casitas, Perris, Castaic, Piru, and the whole lower Colorado River. Cachuma and Santa Margarita, and even the higher elevation waters like Piru, Pyramid, and Silverwood are also good. Irvine remains a sleeper pick.
STRIPED BASS: On the Colorado River, the only striper bite of note is the action on big fish to 30-plus pounds this week at Willow Beach. The action went in the tank from Bullhead south through Lake Havasu (with most anglers blaming rains that made the river a little off color). The California aqueduct near Taft is slow, 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. Silverwood is also pretty decent on smaller fish. Elsewhere, the striper bites all are very spotty right now, and no place is producing any quality fish. An exception to this is the striper bite at San Antonio on the Central Coast where there striper action has really taken off on four to eight-pound fish and there were fish to 12 pounds reported this week. The wiper bite at Lake Elsinore is slow.
PANFISH: The bluegill and redear bites continue to be hot in a lot of places. Top bets for nice stringers are Lake Perris, Diamond Valley Lake, Lake Skinner, Otay, and Hodges. The crappie bites have pretty much tanked in the region, with only a few fish showing at Henshaw, Cachuma, and Sutherland. Piru might just be the best bet. A few quality fish are also showing at Isabella, but this bite is tough. The Salton Sea tilapia bite is fair, but the average size has declined. Mornings have been best bet because of the heat.
CATFISH: The flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River is 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, Anaheim Lake, 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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