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Southern CA Freshwater

Boats back on the water at Big Bear Lake

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Apr 10, 2019

BIG BEAR LAKE – It seems somewhat hard to believe considering Big Bear Lake was completely frozen over just as recently as the first of March, but boats are now plying its waters once again after the launch ramps and lake marinas opened up for business starting April 1. That includes both the West Public Launch Ramp and the East Ramp near Stanfield Cutoff, so get that final boat prep done and hit the lake. And even though the trout bite slowed just a tick this past week, there are plenty of rainbows swimming around after a heavy stock that went in the lake in the final days of March.

spoonsandrapalaSPOONS AND RAPALA CD3S are bringing some nice rainbows to the boat over the first days of Big Bear Lake’s boating season, as evidenced by these solid trout caught by the Hyunh family while fishing with local charter Captain John Cantrell.


“The trout bite slowed slightly with winds associated with high and low pressure systems alternating coming through the area,” said Big Bear Sporting Goods Manager Steve Raphael. “But boat anglers that are starting their trolling early in the morning are usually having calm conditions until about 10 a.m. Spoons and Rapala CD3s are bringing some nice fish to the boat.”


Trollers are doing best in the usual productive circuits like Trout Alley and west from the West Public Launch Ramp to the buoy line near the dam. Top producing trolling spoons have been Kastmasters, Thomas Buoyants and Needlefish, and the 4- to 12-plus-foot zone has been giving up some decent action and a handful of quality model rainbows.


The trout have been active first thing in the morning, giving shoreline anglers opportunities to work artificials for bites at first light.


“Bankies are also wise to go with the ‘early rise’ approach and get out there first thing,” Raphael said. “Those who are and working minijigs near the dam and buoy line are being rewarded. The other best bet is soaking some PowerBait on a 2- to 4-foot leader farther east along the north shore from Old Gray’s [Landing] to Windy Point.”


Warm-water species are starting to stir from their winter doldrums at Big Bear as well, with Raphael saying that both smallmouth and crappie are taking baits with more frequency as of late. With the lake getting nearly 10 vertical feet of water from winter storms, there is now ample flooded brush and cover along the shorelines and coves around the lake, which should only bode good things for bass and panfish anglers in the coming weeks ahead as water temps inch higher and spawning kicks into full gear.


smalliesarenowSMALLIES ARE NOW starting to get with the program and take bait offerings and young Dax scored this nice Big Bear bronzeback in an area of the lake that was dry until this past winter.


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