Southern CA Freshwater

Big Bear trout bite ‘wide open’ as boating season quickly coming to a close

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 29, 2018

West Public Launch Ramp closing for winter Nov. 30, but shoreline fishing a solid option year-round

BIG BEAR LAKE — With Thanks­giving weekend now in the rear view mirror — wow, how did that happen already? — the boating season at Big Bear Lake is rapidly coming to a close, as all of the lake’s private marinas have already closed up shop for the season and the last remaining access option, the West Public Launch Ramp, is set to shut down for the winter this coming Friday, Nov. 30. That said, this month has been very good to local and visiting trout anglers, reaching a crescendo in these waning days of November in a bite that is giving up some excellent fishing amid prime late-fall water conditions.

“The fishing remains excellent and the catchin’ action is even better right now,” said Steve Raphael at Big Bear Sporting Goods. “The trout bite is wide open right now with lake temps at 48 to 50 degrees top to bottom and dissolved oxygen well within favorable levels lake wide.


SAY AGAIN? — Local Big Bear angler Devin Ragsdale tied into a quality fall rainbow on PowerBait when this 4½-pound largemouth went straight lingcod and chomped down on the trout and Ragsdale had himself the rare freshwater double. They really will eat — or at least try to eat — anything… Hmmm, swimbait time anybody?

“The north shore is consistently producing beautiful fish from the buoy line east to the West Public Launch Ramp on chartreuse, garlic and salmon egg PowerBait,” Raphael said of the current shore fishing scene. “The lake’s popular trolling circuits are also giving up some nice trout in the 2- to 6-pound range. Running 1 to 3 colors (of leadcore line) and towing a Needlefish or a garden hackle on a wedding ring has almost been a guarantee you’ll be serving up some fresh rainbow trout for dinner.”

With just a few days until the launch ramp closes, it’s now or never for trollers to get in their last licks. That being said, shoreline fishing is a go year-round at Big Bear Lake and the north shore is producing solid trout limits at a good and steady clip heading into December. Raphael did note the importance of wetting a line during the early and late windows being key to success, saying that the wind has been kicking up mid morning and squelching the bite until mid afternoon when the wind starts to let up.

It’s apparently not just Big Bear’s rainbows that have their pre-winter feedbags strapped on. Local angler Devin Ragsdale was enjoying his share of the good current bite last week when he hooked into a solid 3-pound rainbow. Upon bringing the trout to the bank, a kami­kaze 4½-pound largemouth went straight lingcod on the ‘bow, practically inhaling the fish and hitch-hiking its way along with the trout into Ragsdale’s waiting hands. Bam, just like that the local angler had 7½ pounds of two-species freshwater double right there on the bank. Hmmm, it might just be prime time to break out the big swimbaits at Big Bear now too…

stoutnovemberSTOUT NOVEMBER LIMITS, as seen at left, have been coming out of Big Bear Lake lately.

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