Southern CA Freshwater

Castaic offering up some solid, consistent striped bass action

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 29, 2016

CASTAIC — It has certainly been quite a year of transition at Castaic Lake, with the water level coming up to a level previously unseen in recent years. The influx of new water has shaken things up throughout 2016, affecting the bite to varying degrees – both good and bad – at different times throughout the process. The level is now stabilizing however, and while the green bass have been a little reluctant to get going as of late, it's the lake's stripers are providing the majority of the best action and the linesides have been on a pretty consistent chew for a few weeks running now.


CASTAIC LINESIDES — With the green bass bite a little slow going, Castaic regulars John Petroski and D.J. Smetana have been opting to target the lake’s stripers and are finding some good success. The local duo has been doing a number on Castaic’s striped bass early and late in the day with small poppers and underspins rigged with C3 Baits trailers.

“The back of the Ski Arm near the buoy continues to be the hot spot for most of the striped bass action,” said Jim Taibi of Rich Tauber Guide Service. “We had high north winds plague most of the days this week at Castaic and the lake was closed on Friday, but there have been sporadic boils during the morning. Smaller topwater poppers with feathered rear trebles are working better than walking baits or swimbaits. There have also been some quality 4- and 5-pound largemouth being caught on the same topwater pattern, so look for single baitfish splashes in pockets and cuts.”

When the stripers aren't up and active, Taibi said trolling in the 8- to 15-foot zone in the same general area of the Ski Arm has been a productive approach.

“There's an abundance of shad all over the area and most of it is in the 1- to 2-inch size. So when there aren't any surface fish working, trolling with small jerkbaits, crankbaits and umbrella rigs with smaller, shad-style swimbaits is working. There are good numbers of stripers in this area and they're in two different schools – one school has fish running 1 to 2 pounds and the other has better fish in the 5-pound class.”

Regular Castaic anglers John Petroski and D.J. Smetana are also capitalizing on the steady striped bass bite, picking off linesides both early and late on a combinations of poppers and underpins rigged with C3 Baits trailers. “We are catching fish strictly on artificials on light spinning gear,” Petroski noted. “There's no need for all that heavy stuff people are mortgaging their homes for right now.”

There are also signs of the bass bite starting to turn as well. After a seeming stretch of an incredibly-long super-finesse bite at Castaic, the fish are finally starting to get more active and hammer the surface stuff. Both Taibi and area guide Rusty Brown report more willing fish on poppers in shad patterns in the mornings – when anything in bone, white or silver color patterns are scoring bites. Once the surface bite disappates, Brown said that the fish are slinking back out to deeper water in the 20- to 25-foot range where they're hitting drop-shot Roboworms in Aaron's Magic and Oxblood patterns. But look for things to continue to improve as far as the reaction bite goes, Brown noted. “With the topwater bite going like it's starting to, things should only get better here,” he said. “Once we start getting down to the mid-50s at night, this lake could start going bonkers, and I expect the fall bite here to be the next best thing to San V for the fall and into the winter.”

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special weekly supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Luna Sea Sports Ad
Advertise with Western Outdoor News