976-FRESH Freshwater Fish Report
A news source for California freshwater fishing.
LAKE ISABELLA: There is a fair trout bite at the auxiliary dam and off Engineer’s Point after a DFW plant two weeks ago. Most of the fish are showing on PowerBait and salmon eggs. Other species have been very slow, including catfish. 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). There will be major trout plants prior to the derby. 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 slowed this week with colder weather dropping water temperatures into the 35 degree range again. A few fish are showing for bait anglers fishing salmon eggs or crickets, but the fly anglers are seeing very tough fishing. Section 2 in the lower river is the only stretch getting DFW trout this week. The lower river below Isabella is warmer. The Kern from Democrat Dam downstream to the next powerhouse is muddy. The lower Kern is slow for smallmouths and largemouths on small plastics and cranks. Most fish are small, and a very 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 with light fishing pressure. The stripers are very chunky fish, but most are just below the 18-inch mimimum keeper size. The best bite has been on Gitzits for lure anglers, and blood or lug worms for bait fishermen. 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: Very slow action. Only an occasional carp dough baits and Powder Bait, and the odd catfish reported on nightcrawlers.
RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: DFW trout plants last week and four weeks ago. The trout bite had slowed way down still the plant last week, but it was fair over the weekend. Best action on hatchery pellet or chunky cheese PowerBait, pink and white Mice Tails, and Sierra Slammer jigs. Other species very slow. The Firefighters Derby will be Saturday March 10 this year, and it is limited to the first 800 anglers who sign up. Entry fee is $20 and the lowest-numbered tagged trout will win the $1,000 top prize. Information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657.
HART PARK LAKE: DFW plant this week and two weeks ago, and the bite has been fair to good since on Mice Tails, garlic PowerBait, inflated nightcrawlers, and small trout jigs. The carp bite is very slow on dough baits with the cold weather. No bass or bluegill this week either.
TRUXTUN LAKE: Trout plant this week and two weeks ago made for good action in recent days, mostly on Sierra Slammer jigs, chunky cheese or garlic PowerBait, pink and white Mice Tails, and inflated nightcrawlers doused with garlic oil. Other species have been very slow with the cold weather this week.
MING LAKE: Trout plant by the DFW this week and last week, and the bite has been pretty good on PowerBait, Mice Tails, small trout jigs, and inflated nightcrawlers. There has also been a fair bite on crappie on small minnows. The bass bite slowed with only a few showing on drop-shot plastics or nightcrawlers.
BRITE LAKE: DFW trout plant three weeks ago, and the trout action has slowed way down. An occasional fish still showing on small jigs or floating dough baits. Fewer crappie reports this past week, but some are still showing on small jigs. The Brite Lake Derby will be April 21 with the final weigh-in at 1:05 p.m. For more information on the derby, check with Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.
BUENA VISTA LAKES: The trout action has been good since the trout plant Tuesday this week with the best bite on hatchery pellet or chunky cheese PowerBait doused with Pro Cure garlic nightcrawler gel, and Sierra Slammer jigs. A few bass had been starting to nose around in the shallows, but the cold snap this week pushed them back out to deeper water. 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: Crappie off bank, minnows.
The big news is the crappie bite that has taken off here in the past 10 days with a lot of fish showing from the bank on minnows. The bass is pretty slow with only a few smaller fish showing on plastics in deeper water. Other species very slow. DFW trout plant four 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 four 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.
NEWS UPDATE: There was a fire along the lower Owens River from Pleasant Valley Campground downstream for several miles miles. No homes in Bishop were burned. All of the vegetation along the stream was burned.
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 a very low 29 cfs Wednesday this week, and the bite has been fair with three to 10 fish days pretty common with a better mix of rainbows and browns in recent days. Small nymphs or streamers are still getting the most fish, and the trout are running from 12 to 16 inches on the norm with some bigger fish up into the mid-20-inch range. The West Walker has been tough, but a few fish are showing, both browns and rainbows. 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 came back up to 100-plus cfs below Pleasant Valley Reservoir, which is a very good fishing flow. The action has improved on small nymphs and midges, but fire has restricted access this week.
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 slow to fair on both lakes this past week. Action best on PowerBait in rainbow, hatchery pellet and salmon peach, nightcrawlers, and small trout lures and jigs. Best spots include the northern and eastern shores of lake 2 and the eastern logged shore and grassy point 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 fair with some anglers reporting two to four trout, but few limits. While few anglers are fishing catfish, there is a fair bite on fish to five pounds on stink baits. There are weekly county trout plants of 780 pounds per week, and most of the trout are between one and 2 1/2-pounds. Emilio Norma, Hesperia, had four trout to 2-8 on garlic Power Eggs. No recent DFW plants. The annual Trout Derby will be Saturday, March 10, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entry fee is $20 per person plus $10 vehicle entry. Over $1,000 in cash and prizes awarded to top 25 weighing Trout. 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 Apollo Park Lake in Lancaster 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 have been fair to good. Silverwood was planted with brown trout again two weeks ago and produced fish to two pounds. The trout action in the Colorado River near Bullhead City is good. 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, but it has been very cool with temperatures below freezing.
BLACK BASS: The action is perking up as we move toward spawning season. Many fish are already moving up into the shallows thinking of the spawn. The best bites remain 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 after a weather cool down this week. 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 has remained about the same with slow to fair bites most places. 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 lug worms and Gitzits. The Colorado River’s Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave are both fair with fish up and chasing shad many days and showing on rip and jerk baits, but most are showing on drifted cut baits. 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. Crappie bites worth noting are at Lower Otay Reservoir in San Diego County, which has been pretty fair. A few fish have also been reported from Casitas, Silverwood, and Cachuma. There is also a good bite at Lopez Lake on the Central Coast with some limits (25 fish) reported.
CATFISH: Overall, the catfish bites are slow 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 and Quail Lake itself. The lower Colorado River has a few channels being reported, but there is very light fishing pressure. No flatheads reported.