Southern CA Freshwater

El Cap largemouth picking up, moving in

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 22, 2018

Numerous patterns working for bites

LAKESIDE — As is often the case, El Capitan Reservoir is among the first of SoCal's lakes to begin showing imminent signs of pre-spawn activity, and that is once again the case here in 2018. More and more largemouth are moving up inside of 10 feet at the lake, where a handful of different patterns are working for grabs in a bite that's steadily gathering more momentum heading toward the onset of springtime.

shallowwaterbassinSHALLOW-WATER BASSIN’is good at El Capitan Reservoir, where a variety of patterns are working for quality largemouth. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SDFISH.COM)

“There are definitely more fish being caught shallow at El Cap,” said area guide Rusty Brown. “More and more fish in that 3- to 8-foot range. There's still a pretty good jig bite going with your brown and purple, black and blue colors, but one cool thing is that there's starting to be a bit of a chatterbait bite in the afternoons whenever there's a little wind on the water – squarebills too. That bite's been best when working secondary points on the east side of the lake in about 5 to 10 feet.”

Anglers are also finding success with Brush Hogs and bulkier creature baits, along with either wacky- or Texas-rigged Senkos. Going with a finesse approach of either a shakey head or drop-shot setup have also been producing well. The quality has been there too at El Cap, with good counts of fish in that solid 3- to 5-pound range. The Dam Arm, the Narrows and the north end of the lake are all kicking out bass.

Crappie and catfish are also on the current menu at the Lakeside reservoir. A pretty good crappie bite is emerging in the north end of the lake for anglers working jigs in the morning hours, with a handful of quality slabs going a pound and better. Guys soaking cut baits on Carolina rigs are connecting with some hefty whiskerfish in the 20-pound range to go along with steady numbers of your standard-size felines.

* * *

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.