California Boating Card


Southern CA Freshwater

New brand of trout for San Diego County anglers

BY MIKE STEVENS/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 09, 2017

ESCONDIDO — Many anglers in San Diego will have a different brand of quarry to pursue this season as several area lakes have switched trout suppliers. Since it only affects a few lakes, this gives trout fishermen more of a variety to choose from over the course of the season.

Escondido lakes Dixon and Wohlford both will be stocking rainbow trout from Calaveras Trout Farm this season after working with Chaulk Mound Trout Ranch and their Nebraska Tailwalkers for years. Santee Lakes is also receiving Calaveras trout, with the first plant of the season going in last week.

calavarestroutfarmCALAVERAS TROUT FARM also supplies Santee Lakes, where they are already biting. This limit was taken by El Cajon angler Michael Wolfe on white Drew’s Baits jigs. PHOTO COURTESY OF TROUTZILLAS/Instagram

Based in Snelling, Calif. on the banks of the Merced River, Calaveras trout farm has been family owned and operated since 1968, and it has operated continuously aside from one year in which the drought forced the facility to shut down for a year due to the lack of available cool water in April of 2015.

Now firing on all cylinders, it’s Calaveras Trout Farm’s location along the Merced River and “flow through” design that makes their trout a premium product, as hatchery fish go. Trout of “plantable” size hang out in “earthen” raceways constructed with dirt and gravel found around the Merced. Many hatcheries store fish in concrete raceways which is how planter trout get those tails worn down to a nub. Calaveras trout are great-looking, full-finned models that put up a great fight. Many of these trout are hatched from eggs originating at Cold Springs Trout Farm in Utah.

Water “flows through” Calaveras Trout Farm, and that is another big advantage over the common recirculated systems, and it greatly reduces the risk of disease and keeps the water naturally oxygenated. No supplemental oxygen is used at Calaveras, and there is a constant supply of new water that originates as Yosemite snowmelt.

“They are the best-looking fish on the market because of how they are raised,” said Tim Goodson, owner of Calaveras Trout Farm. “Some of the best water in California runs through the ranch, so it’s like they are raised in their native environment with no overcrowding.”

If the name is ringing a bell, Calaveras used to supply Irvine Lake with quality trout for years before Irvine closed. The hatchery also dabbles in other species of trout, namely brown and brook, and they are currently swimming in the facility, they are only fingerlings and won’t be ready to stock for a while.

Dixon and Wohlford contracted with Calaveras for fish in the ¾- to 5-plus-pound range, and there should be plenty in the 7- to 9-pound range in the mix. In an interview with Western Outdoor News – from the road back to the Merced area after stocking Santee Lakes – Tim Goodson said the best way to target them is with a piece of nightcrawler on a small hook with a split shot 30-inches up the line. This closely mimics the pellet-type food they are fed in the raceways, but they can also be caught on floating baits, metal lures, and those Santee fish were being caught on minjigs right off the bat.

Flying under the radar might be the lower end of that size scale and it’s impact on the lakes they are going in. While a ¾-pound trout isn’t exactly a wallhanger, it’s candy to trophy largemouth. Swimbait-lobbing bass anglers should be licking their chops at the idea of smaller trout being once again part of the stocking at Dixon and Wohlford, two lakes with a history of kicking out world-class largemouth.

Dixon Lake will kick off the season with a delivery of 4,000 pounds of Calaveras Trout on Nov. 15, and that plant is expected sometime that afternoon. Typically, trout are stocked at the dam, and the best areas to target them include the Buoy Line and Whisker Bay right off the bat followed by Boat Dock Cove. Sometimes, freshly stocked trout at Dixon make it all the way down to Trout Cove and Jack Creek Cove by the next day.

Wohlford will get its trout in early December, and they’re already biting at Santee Lakes right through a shoulder-to-shoulder “combat fishing” scenario. Area anglers can still target Nebraska Tailwalkers at Lake Poway, which still has not given official word as to exactly when trout season will start.

Date locked in for Dixon Lake trout kickoff

ESCONDIDO — A 4,000-pound delivery of rainbows from Calaveras Trout Farm will launch trout season at Dixon Lake on Nov. 15. The truck is coming from the Merced area and should arrive in the afternoon, and fishing on stock day is usually best along the Buoyline, Whisker Bay and the nearby shorelines, but sometimes they circulate throughout the lake quickly, so areas like Boat Dock Cove should remain on the hit list.

These fish will likely be best targeted with pieces of nightcrawler on a split-shot setup, minijigs, trout worms and Mice Tail-type baits.

No fishing license is re­quired at Dixon Lake, and fishing permits are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $5 for kids (8 to 15) and kids under 8 fish for free. Boats are available on a first-come, first served basis.

* * *

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.

Buy a WON Tshirt
The Longfin Tackle Shop