Southern CA Freshwater

Lake Hodges reemerging after a couple down years

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 16, 2018

Bassin' seemingly on the improve looking forward

ESCONDIDO — After a couple of years where the most common question among local bass guys regarding the lake was something to the effect of, “what's up with Hodges?” the lake is now seemingly bouncing back in a notable way, producing both much better quality and quantity for much of the summer. After a handful of 6- to 9-pound largemouth being checked in over recent weeks, more San Diego bass anglers are launching at Hodges more often once again.

hodgeshogHODGES HOG — Landon Beaulieu connected with this fat 9-pound, 11-ounce Lake Hodges largemouth the week before last.

“There were maybe 20 or so boats at the ramp this weekend and that's good to see again,” said SoCal guide Rusty Brown, who had clients on the water both days. “It's just way better this year. It just shows that these fish were never gone; it's just that the shad are back and they haven't messed too much with the water level this year — it's been pretty stable. The coolest thing about Hodges is that it's got the purest Florida-strain bass in SoCal, maybe 98-percent pure. The genes in this lake just make for some different bass and it's good to see it bouncing back to the old Hodges. I think it really could be one of the best lakes in San Diego the next couple years.”

While it's sure nice to see the larger model bass making appearances once again at the lake, the quantity has been there too for the most part. Ten- to 15-fish days haven't been all that uncommon anymore these days, and the 3, 4 and 5 pounders are showing to be more willing to play too.

Early mornings are producing largemouth to 5 pounds on topwater baits like Rapala X-Pops, buzzbaits and Chug Bugs along with a continued morning squarebill crankbait bite on baits in sexy shad or chartreuse/blue colors, while there has been a solid afternoon bite developing on buzzbaits and spinnerbaits, especially so when there's a little breeze chop on the water. In between, it's been all about working 6-inch worms in margarita mutilator or bold bluegill on the drop-shot or Texas rig.

“Most of our fish this weekend were real shallow, I'd say almost all of 'em were up tight to the banks in less than 6 or 7 feet,” Brown said. “Anywhere that chunk rock meets some isolated stickups or clay-gravel transitions have been the key for me. The Narrows, Del Dios Arm and the Power Lines have all been good.” Water temps are hanging at about 84 degrees with about a foot of visibility, Brown added.

LAKE HODGES HAS the purest Florida-strain largemouth in Southern California, said guide Rusty Brown.

ROCK WALLS LIKE these are producing nicely at Hodges, mostly inside of 10 feet of water.

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