Central CA Freshwater

Cachuma trout trollers scoring solid numbers, quality rainbows


Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jan 30, 2019

Nacimiento bass bite tough, lots of hazardous debris still in lake; highly popular Memorial Day Weekend Lightning in a Bottle festival ousted at San Antonio for 2019

SANTA BARBARA — Just a week removed from the most recent storm that blew through the Southland, trout pursuers at Cachuma Lake have been having a pretty good time of it in the stellar weather days since the rain. Trollers are scoring particularly well in the current bite and creeling nice counts of rainbows, including a good percentage of nicer-sized 2½- to 4-pound fish.

A number of different hardbaits are getting grabs on the troll as of late, and at multiple slots in the water column as well. Reseda anglers Art Boyamian and Aaron Titleman hit Cachuma just before the weekend and capitalized nicely with solid limits and some nice rainbows.

trollersarescoring1TROLLERS ARE SCORING at a steady clip at Cachuma Lake, as evidenced by this solid outing had by Aaron Titleman (pictured) and Art Boyamian. The two anglers stacked up limits of quality rainbows and a handful of nice crappie while trolling a mix of CD Rapalas, Lucky Craft Pointers and Berkley Flicker Shads late last week.

“We hit the backside cliffs on a rental boat with no fish finder and we found them in the 5- to 8-foot range and down deeper in 15 to 20 feet after going to three colors on my leadcore set-up,” Boyamian said. “We also got a few decent crappie and several largemouth — good day pretty much trolling blind and not having much info on the lake.” Boyamian said most of their trout came on an assorted mix of Lucky Craft Pointers, CD Rapalas and Berkley Flicker Shads, with other anglers reporting that trolled Yo-Zuri Pins Minnows and Thomas Buoyant spoons are also getting some play as of late.

There’s also been a little pickup in the reaction bite for bass at Cachuma this past week, and while nothing wide open by any stretch, a nice mix of largemouth and smallies are being picked off with lipless and mid-range crankbaits with occasional strikes also coming on spinnerbaits and underspins. Jigs have been effective as well, as have drop-shots in darker colors.

BRADLEY — Up the Central Coast about 120 miles at Lake Nacimiento, it’s been the heavy rainfall through much of the month that’s been the biggest story, or at least the result of all that rain. The lake level is now up to 33 percent of capacity at press time with the Nacimiento River still flowing at over 200 cfs, as the lake has come up over 30 feet since the beginning of the year.

While it is certainly a long-term boon for the lake with the new influx of all that recent runoff, the significant shift in conditions has scattered the majority of spotted bass and slowed the bite considerably, and there has been a lot of new debris in the water to contend with over the last couple weeks.

“The debris is lightening up some compared to a week ago but it’s still pretty thick and there are a flotilla of hazards out there,” reported local WON source Rich Lingor. “The fishing’s pretty tough, too. It seems too cold where there’s that clear water and they’re just not biting there. A couple guys are getting ’em in deeper water but the best fishing I’ve been finding is working spawning flats — sitting in about 14 to 17 feet and casting up into about 5 or 7 feet of water. The water can get up to about 60 degrees in those areas and it seems like that’s where the biting fish are right now.” Drop-shotting finesse plastics is doing the majority of the catching with just a few fish being reported a little deeper on small spoons.

A NICE MIX of trout and crappie taken on the troll at Cachuma Lake by Team 57’s Aaron Titleman.

With a string of continued nicer weather expected at least until the weekend, look for things to only get slightly better in the days ahead as far as the spotted bass go. White bass are still off the radar along with all other species at the lake for the time being.

Meanwhile at neighboring Lake San Antonio, next to nobody has been fishing the lake in recent weeks, opting instead for the more promising Nacimiento. A few anglers have been getting out here and there and putting a catfish or two on the stringer occasionally with cut baits and dipbaits, but the bass scene has been pretty much non-existent so far this young year.

However, the lake has come up a few more ticks and now sits at about 17 percent of capacity.

The biggest news at San Antone has little to do with fishing, however, and instead is the ousting of the highly popular Lightning in a Bottle Festival that takes place annually each Memorial Day Weekend and draws in excess of 30,000 people to the lake for its festivities. The festival will not return to San Antonio in 2019 after county officials terminated a multi-year agreement with event organizer, The Do Lab, this past August after an ongoing dispute over maximum attendance limits and attendee deaths at the festival each of the last two years. Public safety issues due to the massive number of festival attendees were the largest concern for the termination of the agreement.

“As far as the festival goes,” Lingor said, “it’s going to be quite a loss as far as local revenue goes. And the organizers did a whole lot of work as far as maintenance, brush cleaning and such for the festival that’s now going to fall back on the county.”

In another bit of news on these two Paso Robles-area lakes, the county board of supervisors recently agreed to convert Lake San Antonio to a regional day-use county park rather than the resort operating under outside management (Cal Parks) as it had been in recent years. Lake Nacimiento is also currently operated by Cal Parks and will continue to be operated by outside management in the foreseeable future, according to the board of supervisors. The resort contracts with Cal Parks expire at the end of February, but county officials expect Nacimiento’s contract to be renewed with a longer-term deal at some point in the relatively near future.

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