WESTERN OUTDOOR NEWS ON-THE-SPOT
LAKE ELSINORE — The wiper bite was off the hook this past week with the big boys herding the shad into the shallows. I was there and believe me the shad were everywhere. Anglers were nailing the wipers on shad, crappie jigs, and just about anything that was moving.
According to Mike, one of the marina managers, you could tell when something was getting eaten as a bloom of white shad would umbrella up out of shallows followed by the unmistakable crash of a wiper hitting its target. The fish are running from 6 to 12+ pounds. Mike and his buddy Al, both residents of Lake Elsinore nailed a number of these feisty critters last week right from the shore around the launch ramp near the tackle shop. The top wiper was caught by Mike while he was dartshotting for crappie around the launch ramp when a 12.2-pound toad nailed his lure. This is the best striper fishing in years and while the toads of yesterday have not yet shown up, these fish are definitely respectable and are a blast to catch. Bring your dip net and bait bucket to catch a few live shad. It will improve your odds.
Not to be outdone, the whiskerfish are also starting to make a showing. My pal, William Johnson, of Williams Bait Tackle and Boat Rental gave me a call last week and asked if I wanted to go catfishin’ with him. Now please understand what that invitation really meant was that Johnson had already been out on the lake and had the wiskerfish zeroed in. As we only had about an hour to fish, the key for me would be to figure out what he was doing before our time ran out. The man took me to school that day.
Before I could even re-tie my set up after getting hooked up with a chain link fence (I am the master of this) he had landed 2 toads, a 10.5 pounder followed by 12.2-pound monster. The fish hit his dead shad offering like freight trains. Both fish were caught in about 4-feet of water.
According to Johnson this year is shaping up to be one of the best kittie years ever. Give it a few more weeks of hot weather and watch out. These fish are fighting fools and they are found around some pretty mean structure so do not use your crappie or trout poles for them. Your best bet for bait is fresh dead or frozen shad, although Johnson had a monster crush a crawdad (this thing looked like a lobster) but we never even got to see that fish.
Crappie and bluegill action remains fair with fish in the 1.5-pound to 3-pound range. The largemouth are also hitting the shad early in the mornings and late afternoons. The city has already planted about 5,000 pounds of bucketmouths in the lake this year and I have it from a reliable source that a private party is currently considering planting another $25K worth of bass in the lake. Stay tuned.
This is a fun lake to fish, boat or jet ski, swim or go water skiing. Summer is around the corner. It’s time to grab the family, pack up a cooler filled with your favorite eats and drinks and head on over to Lake Elsinore. Give Johnson a call at (951) 642-0640 before you come and he will give you the latest info on the bite and a heads up on what you will want to bring.
George Beers is a resident of San Juan Capistrano