CASTAIC — Though water is slowly trickling out of Castaic Lake after it nearly touched full pool, the L.A. County reservoir is just about as stable as it has been in months conditions wise, and bass action is beginning to pick up across the board. Both green bass and stripers are on upward-trending bites as the water level is dropping at a rate of about 4 feet a week and even though the reservoir is now on the slow sink after rising through much of 2016 and into the New Year, the fish finally seem to be getting acclimated to the newer, more full Castaic.
BASS, BASS, EVERYWHERE — Castaic Lake is picking up across the board for all-around bass action, with the smallmouth, largemouth and striped bass bites all on the upswing. Castaic regular is making the most of the mixed-bag action, picking off healthy counts of both largemouth and linesides during a couple outings this past week. “With all the newly flooded vegetation, we should be in for an epic spring,” Petroski said.
“It’s starting to get good,” said area guide Rusty Brown. “The bite’s pretty solid right now, especially for smallies. Guys are getting pretty good numbers of 1½ to 2½-pound smallmouth in the Ski Arm up against rock cliffs or anywhere that there’s pebble-size river rock, mainly in the 10- to 15-foot range. That tells me their spawns have been really good the last couple years. They’re getting ’em on shad-pattern jerkbaits early and green pumpkin spider jigs and wacky-rigged Senkos, along with the occasion crank fish on a craw-colored bait. You should probably keep a couple spoons handy too — I’ve heard from a few different striper guys saying that they’re getting some largemouth at 20 to 25 feet of ¼-inch to 3⁄8-inch Haddocks and Crippled Herrings.”
Castaic regular and occasional WON source John Petroski echoed Brown’s sentiments regarding the steadily improving bite, also noting that action for stripers is also picking up heading into the second half of March.
“Water temps are hovering between 54 and 59 depending where you are on the lake,” Petroski said. “The spawn is around the corner and with all the newly flooded vegetation, we should be in for an epic spring. The fish are slowly cooperating and moving shallower in some areas, but bass are anywhere from 10 to 50 feet. Bait wise, pick your poison but I’ve been getting a lot of my fish on C3 Baits.
“As far as striped bass, that bite is also improving,” Petroski continued. “I’ve been catching ’em most trips in the 4- to 9-pound range. The linesides are starting to wolfpack a bit with the bass and I’ve been finding them herding shad into coves on both sides of the lake. The morning bite has been the ticket, however, I clobbered them after 2 o’clock on one recent trip.”
A welcomed trout plant arrived in the middle of the week and that gave area swimbaiters all they needed to get out and chuck the big baits, with a few solid stripers hammering the swimmie since the stocking. Lunker Punkers in particular have enticed a few linesides and are a good bet to continue getting some additional blowups coming off the heels of last week’s rainbow delivery.
Though Castaic is still in all likelihood a couple weeks out from the full-throttle spawn, the bite for staging bass is seemingly getting better by the day and there doesn’t seem to be anything in the way of weather in the forecast to put a dent in fish activity. With solid action for shallow smallies, mid-column largemouth and active stripers schooling up and corralling the larger-sized shad in the lake’s coves, Petroski could very well be spot-on in saying that the spring is likely to be somewhere in the vicinity of “epic” indeed.
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