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976-FRESH Freshwater Fish Report

976-FRESH Freshwater Fish Report

A news source for California freshwater fishing.



LAKE ISABELLA: Continued light fishing pressure, but the catfish bite continues to be pretty fair around much of the lake from French Gulch around and into the South Fork arm. Frozen shad, minnows, clams, jumbo meal worms in scent, dip baits, and other cut baits have been the best. The cats are mostly two to four pounds with an occasional bigger fish. The bass bite has improved with decent action on small fish for anglers tossing plastics in shallow water. No reports on other species. For fishing information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or, North Fork Marina at 760-376-1812, or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-243-6004 or

KERN RIVER: The trout bite in the upper river above Isabella has been slow to fair. Just an occasional holdover planted trout on crickets, salmon eggs, and nightcrawlers. Fly anglers fishing the upper 20-mile stretch are seeing fair action on wild fish, especially on stripped streamers. No trout plants for over a month. The lower Kern has a slow trout bite with a few holdovers, but a few more smallmouths and largemouths are showing on small plastics. Most are small. Also still the odd catfish showing up. Information: Kern River Fly Shop 760-376-2040 or ( or Gateway Market 760-376-2424.

AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: Improving action across the board. The striper bite remains fair to good, mostly on sardines and blood worms. A few showing on topwater, Gitzits, Rat-L-Traps, Whopper Ploppers, and Ima Little Stick. Most stripers remain small. Catfish have also turned back on with fair to good action on cut baits, especially sardines, and dip baits. Otoniel Castaneda, Bakersfield, landed a 20-pound catfish on liver. Anglers are reminded the limit on stripers is two fish greater than 18 inches, while the largemouth limit is five fish. Information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-243-6004 or

MILL CREEK PARK AND CANAL: Slow action. Only an occasional carp dough baits and Powder Bait, and an the odd catfish reported on nightcrawlers,

RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: Fair bluegill action on meal worms, red worms, crickets, and nigthcrawler pieces. Carp have been fair to good on Powder and Wussy baits. Very few bass.

HART PARK LAKE: The carp bite has been fair on dough baits, especially the locally-made Wussy’s Poor Man’s Bait and Powder Bait. Also a fair bluegill bite on meal worms and crickets. Bass pretty slow with only a few early and late in the day on plastics or reaction baits. Other species slow.

TRUXTUN LAKE: There is fair action on bluegill, and meal worms, wax worms, red worms, crickets, and nightcrawler pieces are the best baits for the ëgills. Few other reports except for the odd carp and catfish.

MING LAKE: The carp bite has been fair on dough and paste baits, especially Powder Bait and Wussy’s. The bluegill bite is also fair on meal worms or wax worms. Slow other species, with only the occasional bass and catfish reported.

BRITE LAKE: No DFW plants reported, but a few trout up to two pounds have been caught in the past week.

BUENA VISTA LAKES: The 2017 Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Fishing Derby will be Saturday, Nov. 18, starting at 6 a.m. at Evans Lake. The lake will be planted with 2,000-pound of trout for the event, including trophy fish. Entry fee is $20 per adult (14 and over) and $10 for kids 13 and under). The county’s trout season kicks off Tuesday next week and trout will be planted Monday or Tuesday. The county will be planting more trout for this season, and plants will be made nine times instead of five times, like last season. There has continued to be light fishing pressure over the past week, but there have been a few small catfish reported on shad or cut baits. The bluegill bite has slowed, but a few are still showing on crickets, wax worms, and meal worms. Carp are slow to fair on cut baits and dip bait, especially on Wussy Bait. Fishing information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-243-6004 or


SUCCESS LAKE: This lake remains one of the top spots in the region for bass, but the pressure on the lake has been pretty intense, with mostly smaller fish showing on reaction baits and plastics. There epic bluegill bite has finally slowed, with only a few hand-sized fish showing now on wax worms and meal worms. Still a decent carp bite on dip baits, especially Powder Bait or Wussy Bait, with some quality carp in this action. Information: Sequoia Fishing Company at 559-539-5626, or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-243-6004 or

KAWEAH LAKE: The bass are fair on plastics and topwater or reaction baits early in the day. Most are two- to three-pounders, but some bigger fish. A few bluegill reports, but little else. Launch ramp open. Information: Sierra Sporting Goods at 559-592-5212.


GENERAL UPDATE: The general fishing came to an end Wednesday, Nov. 15. Only the year-around waters with special regulations remain open. For information on the regulations, anglers should check the Department of Fish and Wildlife website’s regulations pages. Top Eastern Sierra fishing report web sites are: (Bridgeport region),, and

TOP FISHING NEWS: Fair to good action throughout the Eastern Sierra as the season winds down. The best bites are listed by region.

In the Bridgeport region, Bridgeport Reservoir, Virginia Lakes, and Lower Twin Lake fished well right through the end of the trout season this week. Other waters in the region were slow to fair as the nights became colder. The East Walker, which remains open with its special regulations, has been fair to good for streamer anglers but the nymph bite is also still pretty fair. Fish to four pounds reported.

In the June Lake region, all of the lakes and streams closed this week, and the action the final week was fair at best most places.

In the Mammoth region, Crowley Lake was a good bet right through the end of the seasons for fly anglers fishing small perch fry patterns and leeches. Convict Lake was also good, with quality fish continuing to show from recent plants. The Upper Owens River above Crowley Lake remains open with special regulations, but it has been slow to fair with no major run of fall-winter fish up out of Crowley yet.

In the Bishop region, the lower Owens River, including the gorge below Crowley Lake, remains open to year-around fishing. Pleasant Valley Reservoir also remains open. The lower Owens River remains high with flows over 500 cfs and still difficult to fish.

NOTEABLE CATCHES: At Convict Lake, Alan Jobbes, Simi Valley, landed a 5-12 rainbow off the north shore on PowerBait.

BRIDGEPORT REGION: Information: Ken’s Sporting Goods 760-932-7707 or

MAMMOTH AREA: Information: The Troutfitter at 760-934-2517.

BISHOP AND BIG PINE AREA: Fishing information: Culver’s Sporting Goods 760-872-8361, Sierra Drifters Guide Service 760-935-4250, or Sierra Trout Magnet Fly Shop 760-873-0010.


HESPERIA LAKE: Tentatively, trout plants should start toward the end of this month. Catfish plants went in last week (1,000 pounds on Nov. 9), but future plants are pending. Quite a few limits of catfish have been reported (at least eight), and most of the fish are from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 poundsT llao. Shrimp, the marshmallow-meal worm combo, and chicken liver have been the top baits. Information: 800-521-6332 or 760-244-5951.

JESS RANCH LAKES: The trout bite has been good this past week. The best bite has been on PowerBait in rainbow, cheddar-garlic, and salmon peach. Inflated nightcrawlers and small artificials are also getting fish. Also fair bass action on the western shore of lake 3 and the north and western shore of lake 2 with fish up to 4 pounds. A few catfish are showing on mackerel and shrimp from the western shore of lake 2 and the western shore of lake 3 near the pump house. For more information call (760)240-1107 or go to

MOJAVE NARROWS: The last county catfish plant of the season was Sept. 21. No start date yet for trout season, but it should be later this month when both DFW and county plants begin. Information, call 760-245-2226.


TROUT: Top picks are Big Bear Lake and Santa Ana River Lakes, but some fish are still showing at Apollo Park Lake after its big derby two weeks ago and another plant is slated for later this month, probably next week. In San Diego County, Cuyamaca, Santee Lake (first plant last week), and Dixon (first plant this week) are all decent bets.

BLACK BASS: The action is finally slowing at many waters, but it is still darn good other places with the fish still up chasing baitfish most mornings. Top bets continue to be Castaic, Pyramid, El Capitan, San Vicente, Lower Otay, and Diamond Valley, but all have slowed from last week. On the Colorado River, the bites are fair and improving in Havasu and Mohave along with the lower river backwaters. Smallmouth have also been fair to good in the lower Colorado River, but there is just no fishing pressure.

STRIPED BASS: The striper action was generally fair to good most places this past week. Castaic is the best bet with more quality fish than the other waters and good action, but Pyramid, Skinner, and Silverwood have all been fair. Lots of small fish at the last three. The best news is that Diamond Valley is finally turning on with fish 17-plus pounds this week and generally pretty fair action. The best way to fish at all the lakes is to use topwater or jerk baits in boils or trolled shad-like lures or flies, but this bite is starting to wane. If the fish go deep, lug and blood worms are the best bait. The California aqueduct near Taft is still fair on frozen sardines and blood worms, but most of the fish are small. The Colorado River’s Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave are both fair to good and getter better by the day. Both are cranking out some fish over 10 pounds, but most two to six pounds. Lots of small stripers in the river between Davis Dam and Topoc Gorge.

PANFISH: The bluegill and redear bites are fair but slowing all over the region. Perris remains a fair bet, with Lower Otay, El Capitan, Lake Murry, and Diamond Valley Lake a notch below. Lake Havasu, and Topoc Gorge on the Colorado River continue to produce a few redear.

CATFISH: Overall, the catfish bites have been fair to good across the region but getting light pressure. The California aqueduct near Taft really turned back on this past week with fish to 20 pounds reported. Fall is trophy catfish time and some big fish are showing across the region. Skinner cranked out another 10-plus, and Pyramid is also pretty fair. The lower Colorado River has excellent conditions but almost no pressure for channel and flathead catfish. Of the planted lakes, Santa Ana River is still a fair bet and Hesperia Lake is producing some limits with weekly plants still going in.

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