Southern CA Freshwater

Castaic: Summer finesse game at Castaic Lake

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 08, 2019

CASTAIC — The most coveted predators by Castaic Lake anglers — largemouth and striped bass — have settled into summer mode but what’s making things a little more of a challenge is that both species are keying in on small silverside minnows that are abundant throughout the lake, forcing anglers to downsize to find biters. Finesse presentations are now far and away the best way to find numbers right now at the lake.

despitealittleDESPITE A LITTLE slower bite at Castaic Lake, regular John Petroski has been perservering with his own finesse baits, C3 Baits Shimmies and Ice Picks in Neptune Shad and Red Smoke, fished in 15 to 30 feet. With lots of tiny minnows throughout the lake, downsizing to 3- to 4½-inch plastics has been key to finding bites.

“It’s slowed down a little bit and the fish are still on all that microbait,” said guide Rusty Brown, who’s gearing up for a couple days on Castaic this week. “It’s pretty much all small plastics, 3- to 4½-inch baits on a drop-shot or split-shot rig — more grass coming in and growing pretty good, so be sure to rig a longer 18- to 24-inch leader on your drop-shot to keep your bait above it. There are some fish busting in the Fish Arm around grass but it’s not consistent, though small poppers and smaller walking baits are getting a few.”

Lake regular John Petroski is getting out often lately and said he’s been doing best in 15 to 30 feet on his C3 Baits Shimmies and Ice Picks rigged Carolina-style, with Neptune Shad and Red Smoke working best. “Most of the bait is small glass minnows, and they are tiny,” he said. “Matching the hatch is a must with the fish feeding on the pint-sized snacks. The topwater is trying to get going and there are tiny boils every day but the quality has been subpar at best. The solid boils just aren’t seeming to get going, but as we get deeper into the August swing of things, I think we’ll have that epic topwater bite again soon.”

Stripers are boiling in the mornings, albeit sporadically, in isolated areas, mostly on main lake points and in open water in the Fish Arm from Center Point to the mouth of Elizabeth Canyon, where small Spook-style baits in bone colors are enticing a few along with spoons and Flukes. Some linesides are also being caught on the troll about 30 feet down on small lipless cranks and swimbaits as well as spoons.

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