Where they're biting

The fish report is weekly. Its accuracy depends on marina operators, tackle shops, and local fishermen we contact. Anglers catching large fish should send the information to Outdoor News Service, P.O. Box 9007, San Bernardino, CA 92427, or telephone 909-887-3444, so it can be included in this report. E-Mail messages or fishing reports can also be posted to Jim Matthews at odwriter@verizon.net.

The fish report is copyrighted and any use or reposting of the report, or portions of the report, is prohibited without written permission.

COVID-19 UPDATES

Fish and Game Commission paves the way to delay trout opener

The California Fish and Game Commission voted to give Chuck Bonham, the director of the Department of Fish and Game, the authority to close or delay fishing seasons because of COVID-19 at an emergency meeting of the Commission on Wednesday. The meeting was postponed from April 9 after technical difficulties and unruly public testimony during the electronic meeting. The meeting this week went smoothly.

The move almost assures that the trout opener in the Eastern Sierra Nevada in Inyo, Mono counties will be delayed because of the boards of supervisors, county businesses, and tourism groups in the region asked the Commission to delay the season over worries that an influx of visitors from outside the area would bring new cases of COVID-19 to the region and overwhelm their local health care facilities.

Alpine and Sierra counties also requested a delay in the trout opener.

All four counties are almost completely shut down, and all visitor services that would normally service anglers opening weekend are closed. That includes motels, restaurants, marinas, and many access roads. The U.S. Forest Service has also closed all developed recreational sites (campgrounds and other facilities) through at least April 30, and it is possible it would keep the campgrounds closed once the trout season is delayed, at least in affected forests.

The emergency regulation, which sunsets May 31, gives Bonham the authority to alter, close, or delay recreational fisheries after consultation with Commission President Eric Sklar. While most of the individual public comment received during the electronic meeting was against giving the authority to the DFW to close established seasons, there was broad support in the political, business, and organized fishing community to delay the opener. Now, it seems like this is a foregone conclusion the trout season opener will be delayed.

The DFW and Commission botched explaining to the public exactly what was on the docket, and many anglers thought the that fishing seasons statewide were about to be shut down (like what happened in Washington state). While the state still could do that, it is highly unlikely it will follow that route, especially as the outbreak continues to subside and angler opposition to such a move was so apparent. 

The weekly fishing report has updates each week on the latest closures/restrictions on local fishing waters. With social distancing, fishing is a healthy alternative to staying cooped up in a stuffy home.

Fishing reports and photos of catch reports from readers are especially helpful during this time of closures when most marinas and stores ñ our usual sources of information ñ are closed. Information should be sent to Jim Matthews at odwriter@verizon.net or call 909-887-3444.

JIM MATTHEWS’ PICKS OF THE WEEK

1. Big Bear Lake’s trout bite remains a top bet and it is one of the few areas still open and with good access. Lots of holdover rainbows from 1½ to three pounds, along with a few bigger fish. While float tubes and boats are not allowed on the lake (and likely won’t for some time), the shore bite is best on PowerBait, Mice Tails, and small trout jigs and plastics. From the dam to the Observatory along the north shore has been best. While Big Bear Sporting Goods is currently closed, anglers can get updates on Facebook from the Big Bear Lake Fishing group.

2. The California Aqueduct continues to be open to fishing and one of the bright spots in the region. The striped bass bite remains good in the southern San Joaquin Valley near Taft and a lot of keeper fish are showing on sardines, blood worms, and jerk baits. In the Antelope Valley stretch, the catfish have taken over the bite with a lot of pan-sized fish on frozen shad or other cut baits. For updates on this bite, check with Bob’s Bait Bucket in the San Joaquin at 661-833-8657 or Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824 for the Antelope Valley. 

3. Lake Isabella’s catfish and crappie bites stay in the top picks this week with some very nice stringers of catfish to 15-plus pounds reported in recent days, mostly on shad if you can find any. The crappie have been best on small minnows in the South Form arm of the lake and fish in the two-plus pound range are being reported again. For an update on this action, call Bob’s Bait Bucket at 661-833-8657.

HIGH DESERT WATERS

VICTORVILLE REGION

HESPERIA LAKE: All of the park facilities are closed, but the public can still fish and use the park. The park district recommends that all anglers practice correct social distancing during the Coronavirus outbreak. No fishing reports. For more information go to the park’s website at https://www.hesperiaparks.com/hesperia-lake-park or Hesperia Lake’s Facebook or Instagram pages. While not being answered with staff not on the job, the phones are 800-521-6332 or 760-244-5951.

JESS RANCH LAKES: This lake has also been closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. For more information call (760)240-1107 or go to www.jessranchlakesnews.com

MOJAVE NARROWS: This facility and fishing lake are closed to the public because of Coronavirus safety precautions. Information, call 760-245-2226.

HIGH DESERT WATERS

ANTELOPE VALLEY REGION

APOLLO PARK LAKE: This park is still open to the public. Anglers are encouraged to use social distancing. While the lake was planted with trout four weeks ago, the bite is mostly slow with very few trout still showing on PowerBait, small jigs (Drew’s and Black Minnow brands have been best), and Mice Tails. The carp bite is starting to improve and better weather. Dough baits have been the best bet, but most of the fish showing are smaller, but some bigger fish are starting to show. Still no bluegill or catfish reports. For more information on plants and events, contact Apollo Park at 661-940-7701 or Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

JACKSON LAKE (NEAR WRIGHTWOOD): Open to fishing, but no fishing reports. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

LAKE PALMDALE: The lake will reopen to members only (no guests) on sunrise Saturday (April 18). The lake has been planted with over 16,000 pounds of trout since the closure. For more information, or information on membership, call 661-947-2884 or e-mail palmdalefinandfeatherclub@gmail.com.

QUAIL LAKE: The parking lot has been closed, but anglers can still fish the lake. The catfish action has been good around much of the lake, with most activity at the outlet and along the north shore. The fish are mostly two to five pounds and the best action has been on sardines and shad, especially the Triple X brand. Also some stripers showing on Rat-L-Trap or similar shad-like baits or frozen shad. The largemouth bite is still fair, but they are still showing along the south shore in five to 20 feet of water off the tules staging for the spawn. Nightcrawlers or plastics have been good bets with added scent. Lots of two to three-pound class fish and some bigger. Few anglers targeting bluegill. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT (Hesperia to Quail Lake stretch): The catfish have taken over the bite throughout the aqueduct this week, east and west. The fish are best on frozen shad or other cut baits. The weirs and siphons are the top spots. Fish to six pounds common. Also still fair action on stripers in the two to three-pound range, mostly on Rat-L-Traps or jerkbaits. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

CENTRAL PARK LAKE (CALIFORNIA CITY): Open. Few reports with a few bluegill and carp showing. The bluegill are small, hand-sized fish on nightcrawlers. The carp are also small and showing on dough baits. No bass or catfish reports.

LITTLEROCK RESERVOIR: No reports again this week. The lake is normally open to walk-in fishing, but the Palmdale Water District has an ongoing sediment removal project and access is restricted at times. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAIN WATERS

SILVERWOOD: The state parks closure to all vehicle traffic and parking is still in effect. Walk-in and bicycle-in use is still allowed, but anglers are cautioned to make sure they are parking in legal areas. Many tickets are being written when anglers or hikers park in closed areas on road shoulder and pullouts where a parked car is still in traffic lanes or it is a no-parking area. A few fishing reports continue to come in, and overall the action is still fair to good for both stripers and trout. Shore anglers are getting trout in both Miller and Cleghorn canyons on PowerBait, MiceTails, and small trout lures, mostly trout jigs. A few stripers are showing off the marina rip-rap and at the mouths of Clehorn, Miller, in the coves below Highway 138 toward the dam, and along Forest Road 2N33. The best action has been on sardines or nightcrawlers with scent. A few more largemouth have been reported for anglers fishing plastics off the points with the fish moving up into less than 30 feet of water, with some as shallow as six feet. Please e-mail your fishing reports and photos to Jim Matthews at odwriter@verizon.net. Lake elevation was 3.347.50 feet as of Wednesday this week, down 1.49 feet from last week. Anglers should be aware of health advisories for the consumption of fish from this lake because of high PCB and mercury levels in the fish flesh and skin. Here’s the direct link to a PDF brochure explaining consumption recommendations: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/fish/so_cal/pdf_zip/081013KioskadvySilverwood.pdf. Dock fishing is allowed for $3 for adults, $2 for kids and seniors. Private boats must be inspected for zebra and quagga mussels. Boats with wet lower units will be turned away. Boats inspected and tagged at Diamond Valley and Perris will be allowed at Silverwood. The park is open seven days a week. Information: marina 760-389-2299, state park 760-389-2281, Silverwood Country store 760-389-2423. 

BIG BEAR LAKE: Open to shore fishing only. Marinas and boat launches will remain closed during the Coronavirus outbreak. Float tubes, kayaks, canoes and all other surface craft are also not allowed. The trout bite has been fair to good with nice quality fish from 1-8 to two pounds pretty common. Catches of one to four fish for a morning or afternoon of fishing has been pretty common. The best action has been at the dam and all along the north shoreline on PowerBait, inflated nightcrawlers with garlic scent, MiceTails, and small spoons. The bass bite is still mostly tough, but a few smallmouth are starting to show, and a lake record largemouth bass was caught recently by Philip Bougie, Highland, when he landed an 8.03-pound largemouth, breaking the previous record that weighed in at 6.56 pounds. Bougie is the same angler who set the smallmouth lake record last month with a 3.7-pounder smallie. For information on fishing, call Big Bear Sporting Goods at 909-866-3222 or visit the store’s Facebook page. There have been nearly daily fishing reports posted on the Big Bear Lake Fishing Facebook group page.

GREGORY LAKE: The county park closed all of its facilities to use and fishing. Information at 909-338-2233 or on the website at lakegregoryrecreation.com/fish. Fishing updates are posted infrequently on the park’s Facebook page or website.

GREEN VALLEY LAKE: No fishing reports. The opening of the lake’s facilities and all trout stocking has been postponed until later in the year, depending on the Coronavirus outbreak status. All facilities remain closed, including restrooms and boat/tackle shop, and will throughout April. Updates are posted on the website at www.gvlfishing.com and the Facebook page is Green Valley Lake Fishing.

INTERSTATE 5 LAKES

CASTAIC: Open, however, the marina remains closed. The lake is open for boating and shoreline fishing as long as social distancing is maintained, according to LA County Parks (as of Thursday this week). Walking, running, biking, on the swim beach walking paths is permitted. The hiking trails, playgrounds, and fishing pier are closed. Overall, fishing has been fair. A fair number of trout are showing around the main launch ramp and out to the point on PowerBait, small jigs, or Mice Tail-type baits. The stripers have been fair from shore, especially at the West Ramp point on sardines or anchovies with added scent, especially Triple-X Blood Bait scents, or blood worms and shad. The bass are fair to good with smallmouth showing on drop-shot plastics off the dam in good numbers. The bluegill are moving shallow, and while the fishing piers are closed, the ëgills were congregating in those areas. The lake’s surface elevation was 1,504.37 feet on Thursday this week, 3.72 feet from last week. The lake is at 92 percent of full pool and has rocketed up over the past three weeks. For information call the marina at 661-775-6232 (www.CastaicLake.com) or Tackle Express at 661-251-8700. 

PYRAMID: The lake is closed to all vehicle access and public use until at least April 30. Technically, because it is a developed facility on U.S. Forest Service land, it is closed to the public under a Forest Service order. The lake’s surface elevation was 2,574.93 feet on Thursday this week, up .34 feet from last week. The lake is 92 percent of full pool. There is a health warning about eating fish from Pyramid Lake (except the rainbow trout). More information at this link: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/fish/so_cal/pyramidlake2013.html. For updates on closures and restrictions, angler can try to call: Emigrant Landing entrance booth at 661-295-7155, the boat shop at 661-294-9403, or Tackle Express at 661-251-8700. 

COLORADO RIVER

ARIZONA FISHING REPORTS: The Arizona Game and Fish Department compiles a weekly report for most waters in the state, including the Colorado Rivers. Anglers can read the report at this direct link: http://azgfd.net/artman/publish/FishingReport/.

FLOW INFORMATION: Reservoir elevation levels and flow releases for the entire lower Colorado River are available at this web site with information updated hourly: www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/hourly/rivops.html.

WESTERN SIERRA

CLOSURE UPDATES: Kern County and city parks remain open but anglers should follow distancing guidelines. Some parking areas may be closed.

LAKE ISABELLA: One of the few open waters in the region. This lake is attracting anglers from all over Southern California, and the infrastructure in Kernville and other small communities around the lake is shut down. Anglers going here need to be self-contained with no camping or restroom facilities open. There are two boat ramps open, one in the South Fork at Red’s Marina and the ramp in the North Fork is open. Beach launching for small boats is also available in Kissack Cove. The catfish action remains very good, mostly on shad (which is just about impossible to find now) and a variety of stink baits. The fish are running from two to six pounds with some bigger. The crappie bite is fair to good with boat anglers still doing the best in the South Fork Arm of the lake on small minnows. Some shore anglers have reported getting crappie early morning before sunup fish with glow bobbers with small minnows. Some of the fish are up to two-plus pounds. There is also still a fair bite on largemouth bass, but the variable weather has them in and out of the shallows. Best bite has been on plastics, jigs, and deeper running swimbaits. No recent reported DFW plants, but a few trout have been reported by crappie anglers fishing small jigs. The lake surface elevation on Thursday was 2,563.35 up .97 feet from last week. The lake is at 32 percent capacity and very stable right now. 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: Open. Little change, with continued fair to good trout action. The DFW is no longer announcing its trout plants, but fish continue to be planted. There are also still pretty decent numbers of holdover fish spread throughout the plant areas in both the upper and lower river. Panther Martins, Blue Fox spinners, and nightcrawlers have been the top baits, but salmon eggs, SuperDupers, and Jake’s are also getting a few trout. Excellent fishing flows. Upper river flows were 823 cfs on Thursday and 553 cfs in the lower river. Fly-fishing action fair and improving on the upper river from Kernville up to the Johnsondale Bridge and above, and there is increasing dry fly activity. The bass and catfish action remains slow in the lower river. Information: Kern River Fly Shop 760-376-2040 or (www.kernriverflyfishing.com) or Gateway Market 760-376-2424.

AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: Open. The striper action has been good with a ton of small fish from eight to 10 inches and then a lot of keepers over the 18-inch minimum size. There was a 32-pound striper reported this week, and one in the mid-teens, but a lot of solid fish over four pounds. The fish are showing on jerk baits, blood worms, and sardines (if you can find them). The catfish bite has improved on mackerel and other cut baits and paste baits. 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: Open. The carp bite is fair on dough baits. A few catfish continue to show here for anglers fishing nightcrawlers.

RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: Open. The lake was reportedly stocked with trout last week, but with the DFW stocking information on hold, this is difficult to confirm. The bass action is fair to good, especially on warmer days, with plastics and Flukes the best bets. Some fish are already on beds. Warm weather has brought up more bluegill on wax worms and this bite. Very few trout reported. Last plant over a month ago. Information Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657.

HART PARK LAKE: Open. Little change here, with pretty fair bass and bluegill bites. Some bass already on beds. Plastics and Brush Hawgs have been the best baits. The bluegill is best on wax worms and meal worms, but the bite is poised to break open as the water warms.

TRUXTUN LAKE: Open. The bass have been up and down with the weather, with the action has steadily been getting better with some fish already on beds. Plastic worms and Senko-type baits are still the best bet. The bluegill action is also starting to take off as the water warms and fish are already moving shallow for the spawn. Best baits are wax worms, meal worms, or red worms. A few carp and catfish reported, too.

MING LAKE: Open. The bass action here is probably the best of the lakes in Bakersfield, with the fish all over the shallows and on beds. Plastic worms, Senkos, Brush Hawgs, and live minnows have been the top baits. More and more bluegill are showing on wax worms or meal worms.

BRITE LAKE: Closed this week. Tournaments have been cancelled. No news on DFW plants.

BUENA VISTA LAKES: This park remains open to fishing. The best action has been on crappie with fair to good numbers of fish to a pound or so showing on live minnows and small jigs. Catches of 10 to 12 have been common. The most recent trout plant was five weeks ago, and very few rainbows still being caught. The bass have also started to show in pretty fair numbers for anglers fishing Senkos along the tules. Few reports of other species. Fishing information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or www.bobsbaitbucket.com; Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com; or the park entrance gate at 661-763-1526.

WOOLLOMES LAKE: No reports.

SUCCESS LAKE: Marinas, launch ramps, and parking lots are closed, making fishing access difficult, but the lake is still technically open to fishing. Few reports this week, but the bass bite has been fair to good on plastics and reaction baits. The lake elevation as of Thursday this week was 620.60 feet, up 6.94 feet from last week. The lake is 36 percent capacity. Information: Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com.

KAWEAH LAKE: Marinas, launch ramps, and parking lots are closed. The lake is technically still open to shore fishing but access is difficult. Few fishing reports, but there have been some largemouth bass reports on plastics. No other reports. Lake elevation as of Thursday this week was 6,40.00 feet, up 3.93 feet from last week. The lake is 31 percent capacity. Information: Sierra Sporting Goods at 559-592-5212.

EASTERN SIERRA

Top Eastern Sierra fishing report web sites are: www.KensSport.com (Bridgeport region), www.TheTroutFly.com (Mammoth Lakes region), and www.SierraDrifters.com (Bishop and Mammoth Lakes region). 

TROUT PLANTS

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has continued not to post the trout planting schedule from its website “in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 by preventing public crowding at water bodies. 

“Fishing is still open and CDFW will continue stocking trout at locations where social distancing by anglers and physical distancing of Hatchery Staff can be maintained.

“All Fishing in the City stocking events have been canceled through April 30th.

“We ask that members of the public avoid interacting with Hatchery Staff while fish are being stocked, and to please continue to implement social distancing.

And don’t try to call the local DFW office’s to find what waters will be planted: “Local CDFW offices will not have access to the Fish Plant Schedule.”

Normally, statewide trout plants are available at the DFW’s stocking page at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants/.

OCEAN FISHING REPORT

For the most comprehensive and up-to-date ocean fishing available, go to www.976-TUNA.com.

YOUR FISHING REPORTS

Please feel free to send your freshwater or saltwater fishing reports and fishing photos to Jim Matthews, Outdoor News Service, at odwriter@verizon.net and the information will be included in the weekly report. If you have questions or comments, please call Matthews at 909-887-3444.

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