Feb
28
Link to usBy JIM MATTHEWS www.OutdoorNewsService.com
     The final 2014 numbers are in and the number of hunters and fishermen in California dropped to their lowest level in history last year. I think the Department of Fish and Wildlife can pat itself on the back for its monumental effort to drive sportsmen away from hunting and fishing in an unprecedented way.
     These are the numbers: In 2014, there were 990,447 annual resident sportfishing licenses sold in this state. This is only the second time the number has dropped below 1 million (the last time in 2011, when it missed the mark by 32 licenses). Throughout the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, annual fishing license sales exceeded 2 million each year, and the peak sales year was in 1981 when just under 2.3 million were sold. As an interesting note, during that time, fishing license sales were almost exactly 10 percent of the state’s growing population. License sales continued to grow on pace with the population until the mid-1980s when the sales numbers began to steadily decline.
     While there might still be a few more hunting licenses sold between now and the end of the license year the end of June, the numbers for the 2014-15 year look like they will drop below 245,000 for the first time, setting a new, all-time low mark. While DFW on-line data doesn’t go back before 1970, I have read that hunting license sales peaked in the late 1960s at about 700,000 (there were just under 691 thousand sold in 1970). Numbers have declined steadily ever since. Numbers hovered around 500,000 per year in the 1970s and then declined into the 1980s. They dropped below 400,000 for the first time in 1988 and below 300,000 in 1997. There has been a downward trend of 4,000 to 5,000 per year since then.
      Amazingly, the agency’s revenue from sportsmen has continued to grow even as our numbers dwindle. They gouge us with increased license and tags fees, permits or stamps also have annual increases, and there are new individual fees each year for just about anything we might want to hunt or catch. With the money the same or increasing, do you think the state agency cares our numbers are declining? Do they care enough to do something about it?
     Absolutely not.
     The DFW is in charge of selling a great ‘product,’ and if the staff wanted to refocus its management, reduce the regulatory burden on hunters and fisherman, and initiate a private-sector type marketing program (like the state has done for Covered California, the health care debacle), they could increase license sales by a minimum of 50 percent in three years. I happen to believe the reality is that they don’t want to increase our numbers again, and they are certainly not investing any of its funding to do so. They don’t want more people looking over their shoulders. They don’t want more accountability.
     When fishermen represented 10 percent of the population and hunters were four or five percent of the state’s population, we were a significant ‘constituency’ group that mattered to Sacramento legislators, so we also mattered to the DFW and Fish and Game Commission’s political appointees. A phone call or letter to a representative about declining trout plants or changes in a hunting season meant the DFW and FGC would be called out and there was accountability.
     Today, no so much.
     There are legislators today who probably don’t know the state plants trout for anglers. Why should they? Anglers are now just 2 1/2-percent of the population, and hunters represent barely a half-percent of the people in the state.
     To the rest of the state’s population the DFW is supposed to represent when it comes to non-game and endangered or threatened species, most can’t tell you who or what the DFW does. They don’t know its Fish and Wildlife that are supposed to be the watch dogs that protect wildlife and habitat. If they did know that, they would gasp in horror and the incompetent job the agency is doing. Why? Because there is no accountability.
     Just the condor program is a prime example. The state is supposed to be the coordinator of a broad-based coalition of scientists and researchers from private, state and federal agencies working with this critically endangered bird. After 35 years of supposedly intensive study, we still really have no idea of where or what condors eat in the wild. With all of the birds wearing markers and most with radio telemetry gear so we can track their movements and location, we still only have anecdotal information on where and how they feed in the wild. There has never been a food study done on condors.
     This is a critical omission when you have been telling everyone for two decades that lead poisoning from the condor’s food is their biggest threat to recovery. And that lead poisoning — they have and continue to say — is caused by lead ammunition remnants left in game gut piles and carcasses discarded by hunters. But then we banned lead ammunition for hunting in condor country, there was a real shocker. It didn’t help. The ban worked for other scavenging birds. Golden eagles and vultures saw their background lead levels decline or disappear. Condors? The after-ban data shows the condors are still getting lead in the same amounts. Now, the so-called experts are scrambling trying to make the data fit the disproven theory. They are grasping at straws: ‘Hunters must not be complying.’ ‘Poachers are still using lead.’ But all the excuses beg the simple question. It’s working for eagles and vultures, why isn’t it for condors? Well, it appears the simple answer is that the assumption about condor lead coming from ammunition was at least partially wrong, mostly wrong.
     Has the DFW said, ‘Whoa, we need to finally, once-and-for-all, do a condor food study and see where this lead is coming from’?
     No, they are mismanaging endangered species like they have the resources — the hunted and fished species — that could make them a mint in license sales if those populations of game and fish were optimized.
     I won’t name names here, but there was once a do-nothing biologist I knew in the 1980s (an anomaly back then, because the biologists with the DFG then were mostly hard-working, dedicated troops) that became the butt of a joke. I used to say, ‘Put him in charge of desert tortoise if you want to assure they go extinct.’ He pretty much represents how the entire agency functions today. There are a lot of biologists (excuse me, they are all now ‘environmental scientists’) who would love to get back in the field and do good things for wildlife, but they are handcuffed today by bureaucrats and supervisors who don’t want to fight the good fight. They are handcuffed by decades of regulations and rules that no one questioned when they were implements. They are handcuffed and lack of funding (read that ‘lack of funding’ line to mean, ‘misappropriated funding spent elsewhere on something that doesn’t really benefit anyone or anything in the state’).
     In a recent press release, the DFW director hailed one of the top accomplishments of the agency: Wildlife nanny. He didn’t use that term, but he was proud of the time his biologists and wardens wasted on problem wildlife calls. Mountain lions, bears, and other potentially dangerous critters would enter urban California and need 100s of man-hours of time to be tranquilized, caged, and relocated. For many animals, they would end up in the same situation a week or two later. That is an accomplishment? Wildlife nannies: That’s what the DFW has become, a feel-good agency all fuzzy and warm and politically correct.
     The wildlife nannies (aka DFW) don’t have the gumption to tell the public that those critters should get a load of 00-buckshot and a necropsy. Potentially dangerous wildlife coming into urban California is a problem we don’t want to give another opportunity to hurt someone. They come because they are looking for food; because the population is saturated, and they can’t find food or a home range outside of urban California. They come because we’ve mismanaged the lion, bear, and other wildlife populations beyond all recognition. They keep coming because we want to do the feel-good thing instead of the right thing. But it’s one of the agency’s key accomplishments?
    They have lost their way. And only a handful of us remember or care what the agency should be doing or why. Hunting and fishing license sales are the big picture they refuse to see or address.
Feb
26

JIM MATTHEWS’ PICKS OF THE WEEK

1. And staying the No. 1 pick…. The winter yellowtail bite for the San Diego-based boats running south to the Colonet region off the Baja coast has been exceptional. These 1 1/2-day trips this past week have mostly returned with limits of yellowtail and limits or near-limits of rockfish. This bite has been going on like this for a month. Two months? It just doesn’t get any better in winter. For information on these trips, check with either H&M Landing at 619-222-1144, Seaforth Sportfishing at 619-224-3383, or Point Loma Sportfishing at 619-223-1627.

2. Want to know what it’s like to catch steelhead a lot closer to home? The Owens River above Crowley Lake will give you the flavor of steelhead fishing right now. These are big, wild rainbows and cuttbows running up out of the lake like steelhead (and nearly as big) and the bite has been excellent (anglers are reporting 20 or more fish per day). These are steelhead-like rainbows from 16 to 24 inches long, and they are a blast on small nymphs and egg patterns fished in the deep pools and runs. Information: The Troutfitter at 760-934-2517.

3. Crappie jump into the top picks with good bites at both Casitas Lake and Lake Elsinore. It’s a coin flip. The action is pretty good at both spots so you might want to pick the one that is closer to you. The average size is bigger at Casitas at about 1 1/2-pounds or better, while the fish have mostly been in the 3/4-pound range at Elsinore. Small, bright-colored jigs have been the ticket at both spots. For an update on these bites, check with the Casitas marina at 805-649-2043 or for Elsinore call William’s Bait, Tackle, and Boat Rental at 951-642-0640.

Feb
26

FRESHWATER HOT SPOTS

TROUT: Winter trout season is in full swing in Southern California with most lakes stocking weekly or alternating weeks. Top bets with weekly plants include Santa Ana River Lake, Laguna Niguel, Dixon Lake, Irvine Lake, Lake Poway, Corona Lake, Lake Jennings, and Lake Silverwood (21 weeks in a row of DFW fish). Lake Skinner also jumped into the top bets for trout after three plants since Feb. 17. All of the San Bernardino County parks — Glen Helen, Prado, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, and Mojave Narrows — are getting weekly 1,000-pound plants. Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains has been good with fish to six pounds in the past week. There is also an excellent bite on the upper Owens River ìsteelheadî above Crowley Lake in the Sierra for fly anglers.

BLACK BASS: The bass are starting to break out of their winter patterns at most of the lower-elevation, warmer waters throughout the southern half of the state. The fish are poking into the sun-warmed shallows and fish are being caught in as little as four feet of water some places. Top bets, about in order of action, are El Capitan, Skinner, Castaic, Diamond Valley, Casitas, Piru, Perris, and Lower Otay (which produced an 11-plus this past week). On the Colorado River, the bites have also started to come around, especially from Lake Havasu south.

STRIPED BASS: The striper action has been fair. The top bite has been the California aqueduct near Taft. Skinner, Silverwood, Pyramid, and Diamond Valley all have stayed slow to fair this past week, but Skinner produced several fish to 23 pounds following its resumption of trout plants, and Pyramid has also been producing double digit fish after DFW plants (and one goes in this week). On the Colorado River, almost all the bites have gone or remain very slow, but a few more fish were reported from the Bullhead stretch of the river this week and the Havasu fish are showing signs of life.

PANFISH: The biggest news remains the crappie bite on quality fish at Casitas Lake, and the hot new bite at Lake Elsinore. These are both finesse bites on small jigs. There have also been on-and-off bites at Isabella (off again this past week), Lower Otay, El Capitan (way off), and to a lesser extent at Silverwood (also off). Hodges remains a sleeper crappie pick since it reopened two weeks ago. Lake Skinner has been cranking out a few big bluegill to two pounds each of the past three weeks, now, but it’s certainly not wide open. Perris and Casitas also showed off a few one-pound plus bluegill this past week, and Diamond Valley continues to produce the odd big redear.

CATFISH: The flathead catfish bite on the Colorado River remains in the tank, but the channel catfish bite in the Palo Verde lagoon has continued fair with almost no pressure. Blue and channel catfish continue to show very sporadically in most in SoCal reservoirs. The Lake Isabella winter catfish bite that broke open over a month ago remains a pretty fair bet, and there continue to be a fair number of catfish from the California aqueduct near Taft.

Feb
26

TROUT PLANTS

Barring adverse weather, water or road conditions, the following lakes and streams, listed by county, will be or have been restocked with catchable-size rainbow trout or channel catfish by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Plants are listed for the current week and the coming week. Each list is updated with changes each week. For the most recent updates in Southern California and the Eastern Sierra Nevada, you can call the DFW recording at 855-887-1275, or for updates in the Western Sierra, you can call 559-243-4005, x183. For trout plants statewide, you can visit the DFW’s stocking web site at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants/, which is the same data used here.

THIS WEEK’S TROUT PLANTS (Feb. 22-28):

LOS ANGELES: Castaic Lake, Pyramid Lake.

VENTURA: Reyes Creek.

SAN BERNARDINO: Silverwood Lake.

SAN DIEGO: Chollas Park Lake, Lake Miramar, Lake Murray, Lindo Lake.

INYO: Owens River (section 2), Pleasant Valley Reservoir.

KERN: Cuddy Creek Pond, Kern River (sections 1-5).

TULARE: Del Lago Park Lake, Kaweah Reservoir, Kern River (sections 5 and 6), Success Reservoir.

FRESNO: Woodward Park Lake (Fresno City).
NEXT WEEK’S TENTATIVE TROUT PLANTS (Mar. 1-7):

INYO: Cottonwood Creek, Georges Creek, Independence Creek, Tuttle Creek.

KERN: Brite Valley Reservoir, Hart Park Lake, Ming Lake, River Walk Lake, Truxtun Lake.

TULARE: Murry Park Pond.

FRESNO: Avocado Lake, Kings River (below Pine Flat Dam).

Feb
26

SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAIN WATERS

SILVERWOOD: The trout action remains very good thanks to DFW trout plants again this week and each of the past 20 weeks, according to the DFW. The action has been best in Sawpit and all of Cleghorn Canyon on inflated nightcrawlers and gold Kastmasters, but rainbows are showing throughout the lake on a wide variety of baits and lures. Jacob and Alex Quintero, San Bernardino, had four trout on PowerBait while fishing in Sawpit. Top fish was a 2-8 rainbow. Sam Reynolds, Apple Valley, had a stringer of five trout and catfish fishing worms in Sawpit. There is also a pretty fair striper bite at the dam, Cleghorn, Chemise, and around the marina on cut baits, lug worms, or small swimbaits. Most of the fish are under two pounds. Cory Saathoff, Lancaster, had a two-pound striper on a nightcrawler off the dock. The largemouth bass bite seems to be showing a little life, with more and more fish showing on plastics and nightcrawlers in 15 to 30 feet of water. A few catfish are also showing on cutbaits in these same areas, but that bite is pretty tough and most are showing on baits fished for trout or stripers. Anglers should be aware of health warnings 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: While it snowed Sunday and Monday (six to 10 inches of new snow), there is still a fair to good trout bite along the north shore from Windy Point to Juniper Point. There are also fish showing at the dam. The best action has been on PowerBait and inflated nightcrawlers with a lot of spawning holdover rainbows in the two-pound range and some to four pounds or bigger. Other species are very slow. For more fishing information: Big Bear Sporting Goods at 909-866-3222 or visit the store’s Facebook page.

GREGORY LAKE: Trout plant three weeks ago. Slow to fair action on Mice Tails and inflated nightcrawlers fished about two feet off the bottom. Plants have three orange-tagged trout planted worth cash from $100 to $500 (depending on the type of fishing pass you have). Anglers must pre-register and pay the daily fishing/parking fee. There are three $50,000 tagged trout events planned for this year. Each event will have 12 tagged trout, and the first event is April 11. Small boat (electric motors only), canoe, kayak, and float tube launching is allowed, but all craft must be launched at the marina ramp and checked for quagga mussels. Lake, derby, and fishing information at 909-338-2233 or on the website at lakegregoryrecreation.com/fish.

GREEN VALLEY LAKE: No recent reports. The lake is open to fishing, but there are no facilities open now. Information: 909-867-2009 and the website, with an in-depth fishing report, is www.gvlfishing.com.

ARROWBEAR LAKE: No recent DFW plants.

JENKS LAKE REGION: Jenks Lake is closed for the season. No recent plants in the Santa Ana River or the South Fork. General Information: Mill Creek Ranger Station at 909-382-2881.

LYTLE CREEK: First DFW trout plants of the year went in two weeks ago in both the middle and north forks. Water is very low.

Feb
26

CUCAMONGA-GUASTI: County trout are planted each Thursday. DFW trout were also planted last week. Information: 909-481-4205.

PRADO: County trout are planted each Thursday. DFW trout also went in two weeks ago. The annual trout derby will be held March 7. Small boats (non-inflatable with a hard bottom) under 16 feet with electric motors are allowed. Information: 909-597-4260.

YUCAIPA: County trout plants are on Thursday each week, and DFW fish were added three weeks ago. Information: 909-790-3127.

GLEN HELEN: There are weekly 1,000-pound county plants on Thursdays. DFW trout went in last week. Information: 909-887-7540.

MOUNT BALDY TROUT POOLS: The heavily stocked pools are open every Saturday and Sunday. No fishing license is needed. Information: 909-982-4246.

SECCOMBE LAKE: DFW trout plant three weeks ago. Information: 909-384-5233.

Feb
26

HIGH DESERT LAKES

HESPERIA LAKE: The trout bite has been good with 1,000-pound trout plants on Thursdays. Most of the fish are one to three pounds, but some bigger fish are in each week’s plant. Top baits have been PowerBait, inflated garlic nightcrawlers, and small trout jigs. Top rainbow this past week was a 14-8 rainbow landed by Dennis Parker, Hesperia. Les Simmons, Ontario, had a 7-8 rainbow. Information: 800-521-6332 or 760-244-5951.

JESS RANCH LAKES: The trout bite continues to be fair to good with anglers using PowerBait (especially lemon twist, orange, and chartreuse), nightcrawlers, jigs, and small trout lures. Bite is best before 11 a.m. Hot spots included the western and eastern shores including the grassy point of lake 3 as well as the western and northern shores of lake 2. A few catfish are being caught on mackerel from the western shore of lake 2. For more information call (760)240-1107 or go to www.jessranchlakesnews.com.

MOJAVE NARROWS: There are weekly plants of trout by the county on Thursday, and the DFW added trout two weeks ago. The trout bite has been fair to good on PowerBait, nightcrawlers, Kastmasters, and small jigs. The annual trout derby will be April 11, and there will be a kid’s derby April 18. For lake information: 760-245-2226.

Feb
26

RIVERSIDE COUNTY

DIAMOND VALLEY: DFW trout were planted last week and Mt. Lassen rainbows were planted three weeks ago. The trout bite has slowed since the plants, but a few fish are still being caught on small jigs, Roostertails, and PowerBait. While the weather over the weekend lulled most of the bites, a few big redear are again being reported from the dam areas and shoreline fishing areas, most on nightcrawlers. Little pressure on the redear or bluegill. The striper bite is slow to fair with four to six-pound fish (a few bigger) showing on cut baits, trout-patterned swim baits, trolled flies off the west dam. The largemouth bass bite slowed with the cold snap but were coming back on at mid-week. The storm didn’t cool the water much, so the fish are moving back up and showing in six to 10 feet of water on the shallow end and still in 20 to 30 feet or more on the deeper end. Plastics, reaction baits, and swimbaits have all been producing fish around the islands and the inside of coves. The catfish bite is slow. Boats inspected and tagged ìquagga freeî at Diamond Valley are also allowed on Perris and Silverwood. For general lake and launch information, call 800-590-LAKE. For fishing and boat rental info call the marina at 951-926-7201 or www.dvmarina.com or Last Chance Bait and Tackle at 951-658-7410 or www.lastchancetackle.com.

PERRIS: The bass bite has been fair to good with more fish showing in less than 10 feet of water on plastics, but they are also still in deep water. The marina, launch ramp, and Alessandro Island are still the best spots. A few crappie continue to be reported on jigs off the north shore early in the morning. The bluegill are still in deep water but are starting to stir a little, too. Few redears in this bite yet. There was a DFW trout plant three weeks ago, and there is a slow to fair trout bite along the whole west side of the lake from Sail Cove to parking lots 11 and 12. Water level has stabilized at 1,544 feet, which will allow the last remaining launch ramp to stay open throughout the summer. Water levels could come up, but they won’t drop any lower. The reconstruction of the Lake Perris dam is ongoing. During the process, the entire dam and Bernasconi Beach side of the lake, including the Bernasconi Beach parking area, will be closed to public access. (The closure includes the bicycle trail on the east side of the lake.) However, the recreation area will remain open, including access for fishing, boating, camping, and hiking. The west side of the lake will remain open. Private boats must be inspected for zebra and quagga mussels. Boats with wet lower units will be turned away. Boats inspected and tagged at Silverwood or Diamond Valley will also be allowed at Perris. Information: marina 951-657-2179, state park 951-940-5600.

SKINNER: Trout fishing has been fair to good with state fish planted last Tuesday, with the fish split between ramps No. 1 and No. 2, and then the more trout went in on Friday at Ramp No. 2. There was another trout plant Wednesday this week, again at Ramp No. 2. The bite has been best on small jigs, trout plastics, spinners or small spoons, inflated nightcrawlers and floating dough baits. There is still a little confusion on if the Friday and Wednesday plants were county or DFW fish, but for anglers it doesn’t matter. The DFW tentatively plans to plant every two weeks through the rest of trout season (until the water gets too warm), but it has been reported there would be additional plants (by the county?) the weeks of March 9 and March 23. These are the first trout plants in over two years. The trout also stimulated the trophy striped bass bite. There were fish at 19, 22, and 23 pounds reported late last week, and one of the big fish had five rainbow trout in its stomach. There also continue to be a fair number of smaller stripers showing on cut baits (mostly mackerel or chicken liver) and shad, with some also on topwater and jerk baits. Fred Romero, Temecula, had a pair of five-pound stripers caught on worms at mid-lake. The largemouth bite has also been very good with a lot of fish moving into the shallows in the high water this week. Lots of three to four-pound fish. Brian Walker, Temecula, caught an eight-pound bass on a crawdad off the north shore, while Greg Peterson, Temecula, landed a six-pounder on a worm, also off the north shore. A few bluegill, including some fish over a pound, continue to show at Ramp No. 2 on nightcrawlers or small jigs. A few catfish are also showing, but they are getting little pressure. Water levels are still high, but should be dropping back down this week. Information: store 951-926-1505, marina 951-926-8515, entrance kiosk 951-926-1541.

ELSINORE: The crappie bite has broken open in the past week. Most of the fish are in the half- to three-quarter pound range, but some bigger fish are being landed. The north end of the lake has been the hot spot, with the fish showing at Elsinore West Marina and LaLaguna Resort. The best action has been on small 1/16th-ounce of smaller jigs fished two feet below a bobber. The good action has been limited to the early morning and late evening. A few largemouth are also starting to show as the shallows warm and there is a pre-spawn movement of fish up into this warmer water. Also a few catfish showing for anglers fishing shrimp, mackerel, or fresh shad. For more fishing information, call William’s Bait, Tackle, and Boat Rental at 951-642-0640 or go to www.williamsboatandtackle.com.

CORONA: Trout fishing remains fair to good with weekly plants. Top fish reported this past week was a 26-8 sturgeon caught and released by Denise Salucedo, Santa Fe Springs, on a nightcrawler from shore on a nightcrawler near the dam. The lake is open Friday through Tuesday and no boats or float tubes are being allowed until the water level comes up, including rental boats. There is also no 24-hour fishing yet this season. Information: 951-277-4489 or log on at www.fishinglakes.com.

RANCHO JURUPA: DFW trout plant last week. County plants are twice a month. Information: 951-684-7032.

FISHERMAN’S RETREAT: Trout plant two weeks ago. Just fair action on the rainbows with most fish showing on PowerBait. Tagged trout worth up to $50 each were part of this plant. The bass action is also starting to turn on as the shallows warm up and a lot of fish to two pounds are being caught. Information: 909-795-0171.

LITTLE LAKE: DFW trout plant three weeks ago. Information: 530-526-7937.

REFLECTION LAKE: No report. Information: 951-654-7906 or www.reflectionlakerv.com.

JEAN’S CHANNEL CATS: No report. No state fishing license required. Information: 951-679-6562.

Feb
26

SAN JACINTO MOUNTAIN WATERS

LAKE HEMET: DFW trout plant three weeks ago. Slow trout action with only the odd fish still showing at the dam and along the USFS shore access area. PowerBait or small jigs have been the best baits. No reports of other species. Carp bowfishing is allowed Monday through Thursday but bow fishermen must check in first. Information: Lake Hemet campground 951-659-2680 or http://www.lakehemet.org/fishing_conditions.php.

LAKE FULMOR AREA: Fulmor Lake has not been planted in over a month and there have been no plants yet this season at Strawberry Creek. Information: 951-659-2117.

Feb
26

ORANGE COUNTY

SANTA ANA RIVER LAKES: Big trout continue to roll here. Top fish was a 14-8 landed by Phil Hilderbrant, Anaheim, on a Mijo’s minnow fishing in Chris’ Pond. Paige Vaughn, Walnut, caught a 13-pound trout using salmon peach PowerBait at the Pump House. Aaron Martinez, Ontario, landed an 11-pound trout, while Dick Bennett, Long Beach, had a 10-8 rainbow. There will be a Lightning Trout Tournament March 14. The lake complex is closed every Thursday (the day of the weekly plants) to give the fish a chance to acclimate and spread around the lake. Information: 714-632-7851 or log on at www.fishinglakes.com.

IRVINE LAKE: Weekly trout plants have kept the trout bite good, and they will continue through April 17. Shore fishing has been best off the west shore and Trout Island, with mid-lake best for trollers. There continues to be mostly rainbows with a few bigger browns. Top trout were an 8-5 rainbow landed by Allen Berthe, Lake Forest, on a Mice Tail at Trout Island, and an 8-1 caught by Robert Perez, Orange, on a Roostertail off the west shore. Daniel Rogriguez, Fullerton, landed a 3-12 brown. The bass bite has been good with the fish moving up in a major pre-spawn movement with a lot of two-pound class fish on jerkbaits and plastics. The catfish also improved where water was running into the lake during this last storm. Chris Hagopian, Redondo Beach, landed a seven-pound channel on mackerel. Information: 714-649-9111 or go to irvinelake.net.

LAGUNA NIGUEL LAKE: Good trout action continues here with a lot of five-fish limits reported in less than four hours of fishing. The trout have been best in front of the concession building by the bubble holes and on the flats, but the fish are showing all around the lake. The fish are showing on a wide variety of baits and small lures, and the fly anglers are seeing pretty fair midge action with the fly suspended just off the bottom with strike indicators. Top trout reported was a 9-12 landed by Art Ng, Diamond Bar, on a mini jig, while Gary Harnden, Los Angeles, landed a 9-11. Emily Friedenberg, Los Angeles, landed a 9-10, while Shami Ramdial, Mission Viejo, caught a 9-8. Information: 949-362-9227 or www.lagunaniguellake.com.

ANAHEIM LAKE: Closed. The facility will remain closed until Santa Ana River Lakes closes for routine maintenance. Information: 714-996-3508 or www.fishinglakes.com.

Feb
26

LOS ANGELES AREA LAKES

CACHUMA: The bass bite has broken wide open over the past two weeks with a lot of limits of both smallmouth and largemouth bass showing for anglers fishing the rock walls with plastics, spinnerbaits, shad-like cranks, and even some topwater. The best action has been early morning with a lot of 1-8 to 2-8 class fish. Catfish continue to show in fair numbers from the back of Cachuma Bay, off E Point, Drake Cove, and the Mohawk areas on cut mackerel. Some limits of cats to six pounds. Trout are slow, but the odd fish is still showing in 30 to 50 feet at the mouth of Johnson Bay and along the dam buoy line. No plants scheduled this season. The carp bowfishing was better again this past week with the fish showing along the rocky banks mid-day. Carp bowfishing permits are available at the entrance gate. Private boats must be inspected for quagga mussels and face a 10-day dry dock requirement before being allowed to launch. For quagga mussel and the boat launching information, log on at http://www.sbparks.org/DOCS/Cachuma.html. The marina is open with rental boats available. The boat launch remains open, but boats must get a quagga mussel inspection. Information: 805-688-4040.

CASITAS: The crappie bite has continued fair to good over the past week, and while the bite is still perking along, the average size of the fish seems to have dropped a little Most of the slabs are in the one to two-pound class, but few in the 2-8 to three-pound class this past week. The action has all been on bright-colored jigs off the deep-water fishing pier, with white, white and red, and chartreuse jigs the best bet. Bass remain fair to good and the storm front seemed to move them back to deeper water for a couple of days, but they are again showing from six feet to 35 feet. Lots of two-pound class fish on plastics, jigs, cranks, jerkbaits, and nightcrawlers. The bluegill bite is also fair off the fishing dock on nightcrawlers with some fish to a pound or better. Surprisingly no redear reported in this action. Still no word yet on when trout plants will resume, and catfish are very slow. Bowfishing is allowed here for carp, but only from a boat after 8 a.m. Lake staff must approve bows. Private boats must be inspected for quagga mussels and face a 35-day dry dock requirement before being allowed to launch. Information: 805-649-2043 or www.casitasboatrentals.com.

CASTAIC: DFW trout plants this week and two weeks ago. They should be good around the launch on small spinners, trout plastics, jigs, and floating baits. The trout bite slows quickly after the plant as the fish disperse and get caught. Largemouth bass remain the best bet right now with fair to good action off the old SS and the shoreline adjacent to the marina. Plastics, nightcralwers, and jerkbaits are best. Steve Banks, Venice, landed a two-pound bass from shore. The stripers are fair in the marina, at the old SS, and the upper end of the Ski Arm in 50 to 60 feet of water on lug worms, cut baits, and Kastmasters. Mike Tenguier, Arcadia, had a pair of stripers at 2-8 on lug worms. The catfish action has been slow on cut baits or mackerel in deeper water at the backs of the canyons. For information call 661-775-6232 or www.CastaicLake.com.

PIRU: The largemouth bass bite has stayed good this past week. A lot of fish on plastics, Senkos, cranks, and jigs. Many of the fish are moving up into less than 15 feet of water, and some real quality fish to five pounds have been landed. Jess Stettem and Juan Barron, both Moorpark, had full limits of bass to five pounds fishing plastics. Mike Hinojosa, Moorpark, had three bass to five pounds fishing swim baits in shallow water. Also quite a few smallmouth in this bite, especially on rocky structure. Channel catfish are still showing in spotty numbers in 30 feet of water on cut baits. The cats have been congregating in the bays. Other species are slow. Boat launch is open and rental boats are available. Information: gatehouse at 805-521-1500 or at www.camplakepiru.com.

PYRAMID: Some bigger stripers have been showing on trout-like swimbaits right after the DFW trout plants. Fish at 14 and 15 pounds were caught right after the plant two weeks ago, and a plant is slated to go in this week. There is also a fair bite on smaller fish in deeper water, with most running one to two pounds and showing on cut sardines, lug worms, and blood worms. The largemouth bass are fair to good on nightcrawlers, plastics, and some reaction bait fish when they are up chasing bait. Lots of bass moving up on warm days in a pre-spawn movement of fish. There is fair catfish action in the main channel by the gate house and in most of the deeper coves and bays. The best catfish bite has been on nightcrawlers, blood worms, lug worms, and cut baits. There is a health warning about eating fish from here. More information at this link: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/fish/so_cal/pyramidlake2013.html. Information: Emigrant Landing entrance booth at 661-295-7155 or the web site at campone.com.

QUAIL LAKE: No reports.

PUDDINGSTONE: Fair o good largemouth bass bite with a lot of fish moving shallow in an early pre-spawn movement of fish. Plastics have been best, but some on reaction baits. The bluegill and redear bites are also starting to improve, but the bite is still just fair. Few reports of crappie or carp. Park and lake fishing information: 909-599-8411 or www.bonellipark.org. For information on why there have been no DFW trout plants, go to this link: http://www.outdoornewsservice.com/#!Puddingstone-and-Peck-Road-Park-trout-plants-need-to-be-restored/c18sh/54d94dd50cf2d691d1c3960c.

SANTA FE DAM: DFW trout plant last week. Information: 626-334-1065.

ALONDRA PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant last week.

BALBOA PARK LAKE: No recent DFW plants. Carp fishing slow.

BELVEDERE PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant three weeks ago.

CERRITOS PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant three weeks ago.

DOWNEY WILDERNESS PARK: DFW trout plant three weeks ago.

ECHO PARK LAKE: No recent DFW trout plants.

EL DORADO PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant last week.

ELIZABETH LAKE: No recent DFW plants.

HANSEN DAM LAKE: DFW trout plant last week. Information: 888-527-2757 or 818-899-3779.

HOLLENBECK LAKE: DFW trout plant three weeks ago. Information: 213-261-0113.

JACKSON LAKE: No recent DFW plants.

JOHN FORD PARK LAKE: No recent DFW plants.

KENNETH HAHN PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant last week.

LA MIRADA PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant last week.

LEGG LAKES: DFW trout plant last week.

LINCOLN PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant three weeks ago.

MAGIC JOHNSON LAKE: No DFW plants this year. Anglers here need to be aware of health guidelines when eating fish from this lake. Go to this like for more information: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/fish/so_cal/magicjohnsonlake.html.

MACARTHUR PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant last week.

PECK ROAD PARK LAKE: No DFW plants this year. Information: 818-448-7317. For information on why there have been no DFW trout plants this year, go to this link: http://www.outdoornewsservice.com/#!Puddingstone-and-Peck-Road-Park-trout-plants-need-to-be-restored/c18sh/54d94dd50cf2d691d1c3960c.

RESEDA PARK LAKE: DFW trout plant two weeks ago.

Feb
26

SAN DIEGO AREA LAKES

BARRETT: Closed for the season. Lake information: 619-465-3474 or www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/.

HODGES: There were 49 anglers checked who reported 31 bass, 23 crappie, two channel catfish, and one carp. Information: 760-432-2023.

EL CAPITAN: There were 129 anglers checked and they reported 518 bass to 10 pounds. The lake is open Thursday through Monday with boat rentals available all five days. General lake information: 619-465-3474 or www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/. Rental boat and concession information: 619-443-4110.

LOWER OTAY: There were 121 anglers checked and they reported 350 bass to 11.45 pounds, 28 crappie to 1.2 pounds, and seven redear to 2.1 pounds. Otay is open on a Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday schedule and boat rentals are available all three days. General lake information: 619-465-3474 or www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/. Rental boat and concession information: 619-397-5212.

UPPER OTAY: There were four anglers checked and they reported eight bass to three pounds. The lake is open on a Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday for catch-and-release fishing (only artificial lures with single, barbless hooks), sunrise to sunset. The road to Upper Otay is closed, but anglers can still walk in. Lake information: 619-465-3474 (recording) or 619-397-5212 (concession) or www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/.

MURRAY: No report. DFW trout plant this week. Lake information: 619-466-4847 or www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/. There are boat rentals Friday through Sunday and the new concession number is 619-466-4847.

MIRAMAR: There were 16 anglers checked and they reported 29 bass, two bluegill, and one trout. DFW trout plants this week and two weeks ago. Marina concession: 858-527-1722. General information: 619-465-3474 or www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/. New boat rental and concession information: 858-527-1722.

SUTHERLAND: Closed for the season. Lake information: 619-465-3474 or www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/. Rental boat reservations: 619-668-2050 or ssmith@sandiego.gov.

WOHLFORD: Trout plants this week and two weeks ago. The trout bite remains solid with nice stringers of fish coming out of Boat Dock Cove and along the south shoreline. Green or yellow PowerBait or inflated nightcrawlers are the top baits. A few crappie are starting to show with the best bite early in the morning. Wendell Jackson, Escondido, landed a 1.3-pounder on a live golden shiner in Boat Dock Cove. The bass action is slowly improving and a few nice fish have been reported. Mike Hernandez, Valley Center, landed a 6.2-pound largemouth on a plastic off the Senior Shoreline. For information contact the Ranger Station at 760-839-4346 or go to the website at www.wohlfordlake.com

DOANE POND: No recent DFW plants.

DIXON LAKE: Trout plants this week and two weeks ago. The bite is usually good into the weekend after the Wednesday plant. Pier 1 remains the top spot, but Trout Cove and Jack Creek Cove are nearly as good. Quite a few limits reported on inflated nightcrawlers and mini jigs. Top fish reported was a 9-2 rainbow landed by Tyler Lauricha, Valley Center, on nightcrawlers in Trout Cove. The largemouth action is also getting pretty decent with a major pre-spawn movement of fish up into shallower water less than 20 feet deep. The catfish bite has been pretty fair for anglers fishing shrimp. Lake information: 760-839-4680 or www.dixonlake.com.

POWAY: Very good trout action after last Wednesday’s plant, but the action has slowed this week. Top fish reported was an 11.2-pounder landed by Roberto Najera, Escondido, landed from Hidden Bay. The next plant will be March 4 (1,800 pounds)and include trophy fish. Catfish are fair for boat anglers fishing at the log boom with cut baits and a 10-pounder was caught and released this past week. The bass are showing in better numbers with a lot of fish in 15 feet of water or less on plastics, nightcrawlers, or Senko-like lures. Lake information: 858-668-4772, tackle shop recording 858-486-1234, or www.poway.org.

JENNINGS: Trout were good after last Wednesday’s plant but the action has slowed for shore anglers. The best bite has been at Cactus Patch, in Half Moon Cove, or off Sentry Point. Inflated nightcrawlers or small jigs or spinners have been the best baits. The next plant is set for March 4 and will include Lightning Trout. The bass have moved up with some cruising the shorelines and showing on Creature Baits and crawdads. A few night redear are also showing. Information: 619-390-1300 or www.lakejennings.org.

MORENA: No updated report. Information: 24-hour fishing update line 619-478-5473, ranger station 619-579-4101, or lakemorena.com.

CUYAMACA: Trout plant from Mt. Lassen this week, and DFW trout went in two weeks ago. The bite has been fair over the past week, but a couple of big trout were reported. Matt Scott, Matt Wong and Tyler Ward, all National City, had limits of rainbows fishing at the Lone Pine, including one at 9-4. Franklyn Wayant, Lakeside, landed an 8-8 rainbow to top off his trout limit. Information: 760-765-0515 or www.lakecuyamaca.org.

HENSHAW: No reports. Information: 760-782-3501.

Feb
26

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.

LAKE MEAD: Fishing for stripers fair on smaller fish in South Cove and other coves at the south end of the lake. Catches of channel catfish have also been fair. Cats from one to two pounds are being caught on cut baits. Most stripers are between one and two pounds and the best bait has been cut up gizzard shad, anchovies, sardines or shrimp. Fish are mostly in coves along steep canyon walls in 50 to 80 feet of water. The largemouth bass bite has been slow to fair with most fish in deeper water on plastics or jigs.

WILLOW BEACH: Very light fishing pressure and few reports. For fishing information: Willow Beach Resort at 928-767-4747.

LAKE MOHAVE: There has been fair action on smallmouth, while the largemouth are lagging behind. Plastics and nightcrawlers on the shelves from the dam up past the power lines is the best bet for the smallies, and this bite has been improving as the shallows warm and the fish start moving up. Bluegill and redear are also improving on nightcrawlers near the dam and at Katherine’s. Stripers are fair at the dam and from the Power Lines up to Katherine’s in most of the coves. Anchovies have been the top bait, but a few fish are showing on reaction baits or jigging spoons early in the day. The catfish bite is fair to good in most coves, especially at night on cut baits. Information: Cottonwood Cove at 702-297-1464, Katherine’s Landing at 928-754-3245. Interesting web site for Willow Beach and Lake Mohave striper anglers: http://lakemohavestripers.com.

LAUGHLIN-BULLHEAD AREA: The stripers are fair on cut anchovies all the way from the dam through the Big Bend area down to the Avi Bridge. Most are smaller fish from one to two pounds, but a few bigger fish to six pounds have been reported. The catfish bite is also pretty fair. Steve Hammond, Fort Mohave, landed a 9.02-pound catfish in the Avi area. Also some panfish showing, especially in the bays and backwaters. Information: Riviera Marina at 928-763-8550.

NEEDLES-TOPOC REGION: The largemouth bass action has been fair to good in the marsh with nightcrawlers and slow-rolled spinnerbaits producing fish, but most are small. This bite has been getting better with each warm day. The smallmouth bite is fair in the main river and gorge areas. The bluegill and redear bite is starting to turn on, and the catfish action is also getting pretty good. Scott Buckley, Bullhead City, had a pair of cats at 3.26 and 2.92 pounds on chicken liver in the marsh. Stripers in the main river are fair, mostly on cut baits, but some bigger fish on swimbaits and jerk baits. You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing, too. Information: Phil’s Western Trader at 928-768-4954 or Capt. Doyle’s Fun Fishing guide service at 928-768-2667.
LAKE HAVASU: The striped bass bite has been slow to fair in deep water at the dam and in the lower basin, but the warmer weather has brought some fish up. Of the few stripers showing, however, some are better quality and most of the bite is still in deeper water on cut baits or spoons. There is increasing pre-spawn activity on both the smallmouth and largemouth bass, with the fish moving up this week. The smallmouth action is fair on most rocky points on plastics, jigs, and slow-fished spinnerbaits in deep water. A few largemouths in 10 to 16 feet of water on plastics. The bluegill and redear have started to improved, too. Catfish have been slow to fair on cut anchovies or other cut baits.

PARKER STRIP: Channel catfish are slow to fair on cut baits, and the flatheads are very slow.

BLYTHE: Very light fishing pressure. Very few flatheads reported, but there have been a few more channel cats in the bite this past week. The largemouth bass bite has been fair to good, but with little pressure. Most fish on plastics and nightcrawlers in the backwaters, and in the main river the smallmouth are fair on small cranks, jigs, and plastics, especially in the stretches with rip-rap. The bluegill bite is also still pretty slow, but improving. Information: B&B Bait 760-921-2248.

PALO VERDE: No fishing pressure. Surface water temperature in the lagoon is already over 64 degrees. The handful of other reports from the region say the channel catfish action is pretty fair, and the bass bites — both smallmouth in the main river and largemouth in the backwaters — are pretty good on plastics and even some on reaction baits. Information: Walter’s Camp 760-854-3322 Thursday through Monday.

PICACHO AREA: The bass have been fair, with the best bite on plastics and live baits in slow presentations. The catfish bite is fair on channels with cut baits, but the flathead bite is very slow. The bluegill bite is also slow. Light fishing pressure.

MARTINEZ LAKE AREA: Largemouth bass action has been fair with the fish whacking live baits and plastics. Flathead catfish are slow on live bluegill and goldfish. Channel catfish action is fair to good on stink baits and cut baits. Bluegill are slow. Information: 928-783-9589 Thursday through Monday or www.martinezlake.com.

YUMA AREA: Largemouth bass action has been fair in area backwaters. Most anglers are fishing live bait or plastics with slower presentations preferred. The channel catfish action is fair on cut bait and stink baits, but the flathead is very slow. Bluegill are also slow.

Feb
26

LOWER DESERT WATERS

SALTON SEA: The tilapia bite hasn’t taken off yet. A few smaller tilapia are being caught by diligent anglers fishing off the state park jetty, but overall, the bite is still tough. Kayak rentals are available at the state park headquarters. The park entrance fee is $5 with self-registration. The state park launch (the only ramp currently on the sea) will be closed for dredging starting next week. The water has dropped so much that launching was nearly impossible except for small boats. The camp store is open Friday through Sunday and has bait and basic fishing gear. Volunteers are needed to work in the visitor center and camp store. They get free camping and hookups. Information: Camp Store at 760-289-9455 (open Friday-Sunday). Salton Sea State Recreation Area main office at 760-393-3059, or the ranger station kiosk at 760-393-3052 (or mobile phone at 760-331-9944).

ALAMO RIVER: No reports.

COACHELLA, HIGHLINE CANALS: No reports.

ALL AMERICAN CANAL: No reports.

FINNEY-RAMER: No reports.

WEIST LAKE: No recent DFW plants. Information: 760-352-3308.

SUNBEAM LAKE: No recent DFW plants.

LAKE CAHUILLA: DFW trout plant two weeks ago. Information: 760-564-4712.

Feb
26

EASTERN SIERRA

GENERAL UPDATE: General trout season will reopen April 25. For up-to-date road and campground information by region, call the following U.S. Forest Service offices: For the Big Pine to Lone Pine region, call 760-876-6222; for the Bishop Region, call 760-873-2500; for the Mammoth Lakes region, call 760-924-5500; for the Lee Vining region, call 760-647-3044; and for the Bridgeport region call 760-932-7070. Lodging and guide information: Bishop Chamber of Commerce 760-873-8405 or www.bishopvisitor.com, Mono County Tourism 760-924-1743. Top Eastern Sierra fishing report web sites are: www.KensSport.com (Bridgeport region), www.TheTroutFly.com, and www.SierraDrifters.com.

BRIDGEPORT REGION: The East Walker has been tough with the best fishing below the highway bridge and on the Nevada side on midge patterns. Quite a few 18 to 22 inch browns, but two to four fish per day has been a good day. No West Walker reports. The East and West Walker are the only waters still open in the region now, and they both have special regulations. Information: Ken’s Sporting Goods 760-932-7707 or www.kenssport.com.

MAMMOTH AREA: Only Hot Creek and the upper Owens River remain open to fishing with special regulations. Hot Creek remains fair with a lot of eight to 14-inch browns, mostly on nymphs fished in deeper pools under indicators. The Owens has been fair to good on big rainbows moving up out of Crowley Lake. The fish have been stacking up in the Hot Fingers stretch of river. Lots of 16 to 22-inch rainbows, cuttbows, and cutthroats in the mix for fly anglers. The best bite is on small nymphs and egg patterns fished in the deep pools and runs. Information: The Troutfitter at 760-934-2517.

BISHOP AND BIG PINE AREA: The Blake Jones annual trout derby will be held March 14. Entry fee is $15 for adults and $7 kids. Over $10,000 in prizes awarded. Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the lower Owens River are the only waters that remain open through the winter, but the early trout opener will kick off next week, with a number of the smaller streams along 395 in the lower valley opening and getting trout plants. The Owens River gorge is getting zero pressure, but the reservoir has been fair to good at the upper end of the lake for jig and fly anglers. Pleasant Valley was also planted by the DFW this week and two weeks ago. The lower Owens has been slow to fair with some surprisingly big holdover and planted rainbows showing for float anglers. DFW plants in the Owens below Bishop this week and two weeks ago. Fishing information: Sierra Drifters Guide Service 760-935-4250, Sierra Trout Magnet Fly Shop 760-873-0010, Culver’s 760-872-8361, Brock’s 760-872-3581.

LONE PINE TO INDEPENDENCE AREA: Only the lower Owens River and Diaz Lake open to fishing, but next week’s early trout opener will see a host of the small streams in the area open. DFW trout plant in Diaz Lake four weeks ago, and the Owens below Tinnemaha was planted last week. Streams on the plant list for next week included Cottonwood Creek, Georges Creek, Independence Creek, and Tuttle Creek.