LAGUNA NIGUEL — While trout are still on the angling menu at Laguna Niguel Lake, it’s the fishery’s warm-water species that are stealing the spotlight as of late.
“Bass fishing is crazy!” exclaimed Rick Mendoza at the lake. “The lake is pumping out big numbers of quality bass to 12 pounds in size!
"Fishermen are reporting an average of 15 to 20 bass a day while pitching 7-inch Roboworms around the perimeter of the lake in cover and around both islands. The best colors have been Aaron’s Magic/red flake and purple. Some big bass have been reported hitting crankbaits in bluegill and crappie patterns around the Three Pipes area. The bass fishing is truly the best we have seen in the past 6 years! It’s time to rip some lips!”
Black crappie can be found all over the lake, and fish to an amazing 3 pounds are making regular appearances. The best baits for the slabs have been small crankbaits such as Owner’s Mira Shad and the Norman Crappie Crankbait in orange or black and silver. Crappie jigs tipped with a mealworm have also been producing well. “The trophy-sized crappie continue to stage up in deeper water from the big island to the dam,” Mendoza noted. “Massive numbers of crappie have taken over the flats in the center of the lake.”
On the catfish front, the lake hasn’t received any plants for this season just yet, but there are 12,000 pounds of kitties to 30 pounds in size swimming about from last summer.
“The warming water temps have picked up the catfish bite in recent weeks,” Mendoza said. “Mackerel and sardines fished tight to structure have been producing some really nice catfish to 12 pounds in size!”
And last, but certainly not least, the trout fishing continues to maintain its steady pace, and according to Mendoza, “Most fishermen are reporting 5-fish limits.
“The best areas are by the bubble holes located in front of the concession building and in deeper water by the dam. Nightcrawlers dipped in garlic scent have been working best for bait. Fly fishermen are still catching quality fish in the flats on bead head nymphs. Early morning and late afternoon have been the most productive times. Crankbaits such as the Mira Shad in assorted colors have been catching the larger fish. Fishing from shore has been fair; your best bet is in deep water!”