976-FRESH Freshwater Fish Report
A news source for California freshwater fishing.
LAKE ISABELLA: Light fishing pressure continues, and even those fishing are reporting a very slow bite. Even the trout have slowed way down since the plant three weeks ago at the auxiliary dam. No reports on crappie this week, even in the French Gulch Marina area where a few had been showing on small minnows. The catfish bite has been very slow with a rare fish being caught on clams or shrimp. The bass bite is very slow. The 2018 Isabella Lake Fishing Derby is set for March 24-26 with a $10,000 top prize for the longest trout and over $40,000 in prizes. Entry fee is $30 per person, $65 for a family (two adults and up to three kids). Derby information at www.kernriverlally.com. For fishing information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or www.bobsbaitbucket.com, North Fork Marina at 760-376-1812, or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com.
KERN RIVER: The trout bite in the upper river above Isabella has been fair thanks to DFW plants three and five weeks ago. More DFW fish are slated to go in next week. James Ford, Bakersfield, landed a 10-pound hook-jawed, humped-back rainbow trout this past weekend from the upper river fishing a marshmallow-cricket combo. Fly anglers fishing the upper 20-mile stretch are still seeing slow action. The best bet is slow-stripped or swinging streamers. The lower Kern is slow to fair for smallmouths and largemouths on small plastics and cranks. Most fish are small, and a few catfish are being caught on clams. Information: Kern River Fly Shop 760-376-2040 or (www.kernriverflyfishing.com) or Gateway Market 760-376-2424.
AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: The striper bite remains fair but getting little pressure. The best is best has been live minnows, with a few on blood worms and Gitzits. Ashley Walker, Bakersfield, caught a 25-pound striper on anchovies this past week. Catfish remain very slow. 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 www.bobsbaitbucket.com or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com.
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: DFW trout plants this week and last week. The bite is good the first two or three days after the plant, but this lake gets fished down quickly. The best action on PowerBait, Mice Tails, and Sierra Slammer jigs. Other species very slow.
HART PARK LAKE: Last DFW trout plant was four weeks ago, but a plant is scheduled for next week. Slow action with only a rare trout being caught on PowerBait, MiceTails, and small trout jigs. The carp bite is slow on dough baits. The bluegill and bass bites have slowed way down, too. Very light fishing pressure.
TRUXTUN LAKE: Trout have been fair since the plant last week with pretty decent action through the weekend on Sierra Slammer jigs, garlic PowerBait, and inflated nightcrawlers doused with garlic. There has also been a fair to good crappie bite on small minnows at night. Other species have been slow, except for a few bass.
MING LAKE: There has been a fair crappie bite here this past week, mostly on small jigs or small minnows. Most recent trout plant was three weeks ago, and this bite has slowed way down with only a few showing on
PowerBait, Mice Tails, inflated nightcrawlers, and small trout jigs. Also a few bass showing on plastics or nightcrawlers.
BRITE LAKE: DFW trout plant this week has kept the trout action fair to good, and a decent number of crappie continue to show. The trout action has been best on small jigs, Mice Tails and PowerBait, while the crappie on small jigs fished on light line in deeper water or fished in tandem under a bobber in four to six feet of water. Some of the crappie have been 1-8 with few small fish right now. The Brite Lake Derby will be April 21 with the final weigh-in at 1:05 p.m.
BUENA VISTA LAKES: There was a trout plant late last week and the bite was excellent through Saturday, but slowed way down on Sunday. The best action has been on Mice Tails, PowerBait, and Sierra Slammer Jigs. The county will be planting nine times this season instead of five times, like last season. Other species have slowed way down with the cool weather. Fishing information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or www.bobsbaitbucket.com or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com.
WOOLLOMES LAKE: No reports.
SUCCESS LAKE: The bass bite is pretty slow with only a few smaller fish showing on plastics in deeper water. All other bites have slowed way down. DFW trout plant three weeks ago. Information: Sequoia Fishing Company at 559-539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com.
KAWEAH LAKE: The bass are tough with only a few fish on plastics. Most are two- to three-pounders, but some bigger fish. Other species are very slow, but there was a DFW trout plant three weeks ago. Launch ramp open. Information: Sierra Sporting Goods at 559-592-5212.
GENERAL UPDATE: The general fishing came to an end 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: www.KensSport.com (Bridgeport region), www.TheTroutFly.com, and www.SierraDrifters.com.
TOP FISHING NEWS: In the Bridgeport region, the East and West Walker rivers remain open year-around to catch-and-release fishing. The East Walker has been pretty decent with flows at 140 cfs this week, and the bite has improved with six to 10 fish days pretty common. Most of the fish have been rainbows, and they are showing on small nymphs or streamers. Most are 14 to 15 inches, but some bigger ëbows and a few browns. In the Mammoth region, Hot Creek and the upper Owens River above Benton Crossing remain open, and the winter bite on big rainbows (moving up out of Crowley) is still good, but it has been a little tougher over the past week. The fish are still mostly in the Hot Fingers stretch of the river and rainbows to 24-inches have been reported. Hot Creek is fair with caddis and midge hatches most days but tough fishing. In the Bishop region, the lower Owens River, including the gorge below Crowley Lake, remains open to year-around fishing, and the flows have dropped to around 75 cfs below Pleasant Valley Reservoir, which is a very good fishing flow. The action has improved on small nymphs and midges.
BRIDGEPORT REGION: Information: Ken’s Sporting Goods 760-932-7707 or www.kenssport.com.
MAMMOTH AREA: Information: The Troutfitter at 760-934-2517.
BISHOP 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.
HIGH DESERT WATERS VICTORVILLE REGION
HESPERIA LAKE: Weekly trout plants are 1,000 pounds per week and coming from Mt. Lassen Trout Farms this season. Most of the fish are in the one to two-pound range. Most are showing on PowerBait off the north shore, but small trout jigs are as good. Information: 800-521-6332 or 760-244-5951.
JESS RANCH LAKES: The trout bite was fair to good on both lakes with anglers using PowerBait in rainbow, garlic and spring green, nightcrawlers, and small trout lures and jigs. Best spots include the northern and eastern shores of lake 2 as well as the western shore near the drain and the eastern logged shore and grassy point of lake 3. Top fish reported this week was a 9.85-pound rainbow landed by Luis Martinez, Fontana, on garlic PowerBait from eastern shore of lake 3. No bass, bluegill, or catfish reports. For more information call (760)240-1107 or go to www.jessranchlakesnews.com.
MOJAVE NARROWS: The trout bite has been very slow. There are supposed to be weekly county trout plant, but the action suggests that has not been the case. The most recent DFW plant was five weeks ago. County trout plants are supposed to be 780 pounds of rainbow trout each week. Information, call 760-245-2226.
FRESHWATER HOT SPOTS
TROUT: Trout season is in full swing across Southern California urban lakes getting private plants. Top picks for this week are Lake Palmdale (a members-only lake in Palmdale) and Apollo Park Lake in Lancaster (stocked this week) in the High Desert. In San Diego county, Dixon Lake, Wohlford, and Jennings are the top bets. Santa Ana River Lakes in Orange County is always a good bet. The San Bernardino County park lakes (Glen Helen, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, and Prado) are getting weekly plants and good. Other waters good in San Diego County included Cuyamaca and Santee Lakes. A sleeper pick, better than many local urban waters, is the trout action in the Colorado River near Bullhead City. Limits of one-pound class fish have been pretty common. In the Sierra, the upper Owens winter catch-and-release bite is perhaps the best bet in the southern half of the state for catch-and-release fishing as the big rainbows run up out of Crowley. Big Bear Lake also has a pretty darn good winter bite for bank anglers again this week.
BLACK BASS: The action is slow to fair most places. The best bites are now on drop-shot plastics during the middle part of most days. Top bets continue to be Lower Otay, Castaic, Pyramid, El Capitan, San Vicente, and Diamond Valley. On the Colorado River, the bites are starting to pick back with the continued warm weather. Top bet is the lower river backwaters with the low water forcing the fish out of the tules. Havasu and Mohave are also improving. Smallmouth have been fair in the lower Colorado River, but there is just no fishing pressure.
STRIPED BASS: The striper action was generally just fair this past week. The best bites overall are Skinner and Castaic, with Skinner an especially hot bet if you can dip live shad. Pyramid, Silverwood, and Diamond Valley are all slower. Best bets are still swimbaits, trolled flies, umbrella rigs, jigging spoons, and — of course ñ the usual array of baits, especially lug and blood worms. The California aqueduct near Taft is still fair on frozen sardines and Gitzits, and it cranked out a 20-plus pounder. The Colorado River’s Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave are both fair. Lots of small stripers in the river between Davis Dam and Topoc Gorge, but some to 10-plus pounds. This stretch of the river is getting weekly trout plants and the big stripers are taking advantage of the feed.
PANFISH: The bluegill and redear bites are slow across the board now. However, there have been some very good reports of quality bluegill from the California Aqueduct in the Antelope Valley. Few other reports. Crappie bites worth noting are at Brite Lake in Tehachapi, and Truxton and Ming lakes in Bakersfield. But those bites are far from wide open.
CATFISH: Overall, the catfish bites have slowed way down across the region, but getting very little fishing pressure so the action is hard to gauge. Catfish anglers should focus on Skinner, El Capitan, San Vicente, the California aqueduct below Quail Lake, Quail Lake itself, Lower Otay, Pyramid, and Isabella. The lower Colorado River has also slowed way down as water levels drop, but there is very light fishing pressure.