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Bass heading shallow at Murray (at least before the storm hit)
Of all the fisheries I try to hit come springtime, San Diego’s Lake Murray is at the top of my list. Why? Well, first and foremost, the small suburban fishery is absolutely loaded with trophy largemouth; most of which are much easier targets once the big females head for the shallows. And secondly, the entire lake is fairly accessible to shore anglers. (My father and I sold our bass boat a while back, so unless I’m fishing with a guide or friend, I’m relegated to terra firma.) Combine those two elements, and you’ve got an easily-accessible lake with a penchant for producing double-digit bass. As for the reasoning behind my springtime Murray ventures, I say “Why not?”

I headed out there this past Thursday to sample the action for a few hours and see what, if anything, was new at the lake. As it turns out, there was at least one bit of newsworthy information to be discovered.

This time last year, anglers were procuring their daily fishing  permits from the Iron Ranger pay station, as the concessions had been closed for quite some time. As it currently stands, however, the concessions is officially reopened and is operating on a Wednesday thru Sunday schedule from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fishing permits are available, in addition to California state fishing licenses, bait and tackle. And the Iron Ranger remains on the premises should anglers need to purchase permits either before or after the concessions’ operating hours (anglers can fish from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.).

This was more or less an exploratory trip, as I wanted to see firsthand what Murray’s bass population was up to. The weather has been so incredibly inconsistent as of late, I didn’t know what to expect. The fish could have been bedding all over the shallows, or hunkered down in deep water. Whatever the case would prove to be, I wanted to find out.

As it turns out, there were indeed a few fish in shallower water, but the spawn is most likely still a ways off (especially after this past weekend’s bitterly cold storm front). I spotted a couple of bass on beds around the boathouse, but that was about it.

Although the wind was up and the conditions were most certainly pre-frontal, I couldn’t garner so much as a follow on the swimbait, so I switched to the drop-shot in the hopes of sticking a pre-spawner or two.
I managed a healthy 2 pounder on the drop-shot, but that was the only fish I could get to go for the day’s efforts. Back at the concessions, I rapped with one of the lake staffers about the recent action and he said it had been good overall. Anglers were scoring limits of largemouth off the fishing dock using various plastic worms and crawdads. And while I didn’t have the same report, I was happy to have a single fish on what was otherwise a “test trip,” if you will.

I would imagine the lake’s going to need a few days to settle before getting back on track, as the cold weather and rain most assuredly pushed those few fish in the shallows back out to deeper water. A few days of warm, clear weather, however, and it should be on.

Perhaps next time I’ll have one of those double digits to show for my shoreline fishing endeavors.

shore fishing
SHORE FISHING at Murray is not only easy, but it can also be exceptionally productive. In the springtime, double-digit largemouth make their way into shallow water where they can be easy targets for the shorebound. Be sure to release the big females quickly and carefully, however. WON PHOTO BY JAYME HAITSUKA

smaller males
SMALLER MALES are abundant in the shallows this time of year; and while the author only managed this healthy 2 pounder, with a stint of warm weather and sunshine, catches like this should be commonplace. WON PHOTO BY JAYME HAITSUKA
Reader Comments
Nice chunky little bass. It would be nice to mention what baits didn't work and what bait you used on the ds rig to get your one fish. As it is I didn't get much from this except that you went fishing at Murray after not being there for a year.
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