Southern CA Freshwater

Escondido: Shocker Stocker — Angler lands flawless brown trout in Dixon Lake

BY MIKE STEVENS/WON Staff Writer Published: Feb 13, 2020

ESCONDIDO — Anglers might be experiencing the best trout fishing Dixon Lake has to offer this season, smack dab in the middle of three-consecutive weeks with a plant. While 4,500 pounds of rainbows getting delivered in a single month is huge news, it’s still playing second fiddle to a very unique recent catch.

Imperial Beach angler Adrian David Morales was throwing jigs on a shoreline near Whisker Bay at one end of the Buoy Line early in the morning. He picked off several rainbows before landing a trout unlike the others that turned out to be a quality, seasoned, full-finned German brown trout.

NOT STOCKED IN DIXON LAKE, on purpose anyway, this incredible looking brown trout ate a jig thrown by Imperial Beach angler Adrian David Morales. He also popped several rainbows before this shocking catch.

Specifically, he was throwing a Blue Fox Glow Spin jig when he made the very unlikely connection. That jig comes as part of a kit with an optional spinner blade that could be attached, but Morales opted to roll with the straight jig and no blade. The avid saltwater angler only began trout fishing last year, so at first he was unsure of whether or not had made a legal catch, but the brown eventually went on a stringer. For what it’s worth, catch-and-release of trout is not allowed at Dixon Lake.

Naturally, from there the conversation went to, “How did it get in there?” My first theory was, a brown somehow hopped in with a group of rainbows that ultimately got delivered to Dixon. A call to Mount Lassen shot that idea down when they said they have no brown trout on the premises. Calaveras Trout Farm used to stock Dixon up through last season, and while they were unavailable for comment, I seem to remember that outfit mixing in brown trout in stocks to certain lakes, at least at a time.

That being said, I still think the likeliest story is the “Stowaway Theory” and that brown got mixed in with a batch of stocker rainbows. If it came from Calaveras (or anywhere, really) that means that fish held over for at least one and probably more than one entire summer. The appearance of the fish also lends itself to that angle: flawless color, perfect fins and it was also decent size. It looked like a fish you might see out of Crowley Lake. A far cry from appearing like something that grew up in a concrete pool and took a very long truck ride.

adriandavidADRIAN DAVID MORALES caught a couple rainbows before sticking the Dixon Lake brown trout that created a buzz in the SoCal trouting community.

This fish’s incredible appearance will also squash any conspiracy theories suggesting the fish might have been caught somewhere else and brought to Dixon for a photo. It’s very clear that trout was fresh caught, and it would have come from far away for an attempt at pulling any such shenanigans.

“That’s a very old brown,” said WON’s Eastern Sierra beat writer, Ernie Cowan. “Maybe long ago, someone dumped a small brown into the lake, or one got mixed in with a load of stocked rainbows.”

Currently a side not to that story, trout fishing has been excellent overall as anglers take advantage of 1,500-pound plants that went in on Feb. 5 and Feb. 12, and another will arrive on Feb. 19.

“The fish are holding to the shallows for the most part, some are in the deeper water but just a few here and there,” said Mat Herrera of SoCal Fishing Excursions. “The darker natural colors have been most productive for jigs, and those black and gold Hookup Baits have been murderous. crankbaits and spoons have been effective as well, when they want to put on a good chase. Most of the trout seem to be sticking to the first couple coves closest to the buoy line.”

He went on to tell WON the water level is down about four feet so the coves are pretty shallow right now. Herrera also said the bite has been hot for the first hour of he day with “a fish every few casts” before slowing down later in the morning.

coronaextramikeCORONA EXTRA — Mike Rickard of Corona fished with Mat Herrera of SoCal Fishing Excursions and fooled these rainbows using Hookup Baits.

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