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Southern CA Freshwater Fishing Report

Bass and crappie action pace San Diego scene, trout still on tap

BY BRADLEY SCHWEIT/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jun 20, 2012

SAN DIEGO — With the warm weather as of late, it should come as little surprise the bass and panfish bites have turned on at most San Diego fisheries. What should be more shocking is the fact that trout are still on tap at a couple of higher-elevation lakes.

One of those mountain-esque lakes is Lake Morena, where the trout bite just hasn’t seemed to dissipate one bit despite the fact that summer is officially here.

“The trout are still about,” said Lake Morena staffer, Timothy Mcilhenney, “but mostly around Paradise Cove in about 10 feet of water.” Using PowerBait, Mac Mitchel of Spring Valley was able to creel a 9.5-pound stringer, capped by a 3½-pound ’bow. His fishing partner, Randy Minniear of Campo, managed a 7 ½-pound stringer in Paradise Cove. Young Max Smith used a nightcrawler for a 2 pounder, and Ian Walgast of San Diego fooled both trout and catfish (to 3 pounds) using PowerBait.

And speaking of catfish, plenty of whiskerfish were on tap this past week. Deon Jackson and Michael Baily were dangling chunks of mackerel in the Narrows to land limits of kitties. In addition to his trout, Mac Mitchel also had a kitty on green PowerBait, while Ian Walgast’s cat tipped the scale at 3 pounds.

“The bass have been very responsive these past few weeks,” Mcilhenney noted. Jerome Kolodge of San Diego used a Rapala near Pumphouse Cove to land a 6½-pound largemouth. Ryan White of Campo had a 6½ pounder on a swimbait, and Michael McKormick and Ron Giess, both of Lakeside, estimated catching and releasing 20 bass. They were using Senkos at the north end of the lake.

And last but not least, the bluegill have been popping up all around the shorelines for those using large mealworms on small hooks. Anglers have even been reporting incidental catches while fishing for crappie; which have been mysteriously absent as of late. “They seem to have gone as quickly as they came,” Mcilhenney said.

Up at Cuyamaca, the trout bite was also the highlight this past week, with rainbows to 9.4 pounds showing over Father’s Day weekend.

“We had lots of dads, granddads, great granddads and great great granddads out here to enjoy the first day of super weather, sunshine picnicking and people watchin’,” said lake staffer Butch Paddock. “I gotta say, however, the past few days have been a little breezy, so the fish count isn’t what we expected it to be. They’re out there, though, ‘cause we stocked 1,700 pounds of rainbow trout.”

Donald Hunter of Oceanside caught his first trout — a 9-pound, 4 ouncer — at Lone Pine on a nightcrawler. Nermina Topalovic of San Diego had a 3-pound rainbow from the same locale, and 8-year-old Devin (no last name provided) also had a 3 pounder. “Devin was very proud of his catch,” Paddock said, “but not as proud as his dad standing behind him with a huge smile on his face.”

The lake’s crappie have also been biting quite well, and Dylan Bell II of Poway limited out twice last week — once at the boat dock and again from the handicap dock — with a little help from the dockhands on day one, and then a solo mission his second trip. Cory James Cunningham of El Cajon also had a crappie, his first-ever fish, from the same spot.

And in the vein of crappie, Henshaw continues to kick out respectable numbers of quality slabs, in addition to a few catfish.

Vern and JD Schweitzer of Lake Henshaw caught 30 crappie running 1 ½ to 2 pounds using jigs from a boat. Gary and Dena Batterman of Ramona had 15 slabs averaging 1 ½ pounds while using jig and mealworm combos. Chris and John Li of Fontana managed a trio of crappie in the same size range using jigs from shore.

On Henshaw’s catfish tip, Esteban and Alex Tello of San Marcos had 8 kitties to 5 pounds using nightcrawlers from the dock.

Justin Chavez of Fallbrook bagged 2 cats at 3 pounds apiece using ’crawlers, and Bill Neal of Mira Loma landed 6 whiskerfish averaging 2 pounds and 1 bass at 2½ pounds while soaking nightcrawlers from shore.

The catfish bite has been exceptional at the Santee Lakes, where anglers have been enjoying limit-style action for the kitties, and the lakes’ summer night fishing events kicked off last Thursday with about 90 anglers in attendance.

Chau Nguyen of Santee plucked 4 catfish from Lake 4 using mackerel and shrimp. Total stringer weight was 8 pounds, 6 ounces. Friends Jerry and Randall (no last names provided) landed 6 catfish in the same lake; one was an albino. Cheryl Copher used mackerel in lake 3 for 4 kitties. Vandy Pongpaile also had 4 fish while fishing the west side of lake 4. Tony Noilkhie of National City hit Lake 4 for 3 cats, and 4-year-old Dillon Nguyen caught a pair of catfish in the same body of water.

The next catfish plant is slated to arrive this Friday, June 22, and there will be another night fishing event on Thursday, June 28. Lake 1 thru 4 will be open to fishing from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. A lantern is required.

“Bass and bluegill continue to bite well in the a.m. hours near the rocks and docks,” said Ranger Greg Even.

In the San Diego City Lakes’ chain, Barrett continues to pump out numbers of largemouth, while Lower Otay produced bass to 11.5 pounds this past week.

A total of 158 anglers reported 2,143 largemouth, 70 bluegill and 42 crappie at Barrett, making for an all-around solid bite. The aforementioned 11.5-pound Otay bucketmouth belonged to Kevin Dale of El Cajon, who was working a Senko in the tules for the post-spawn female.

The bluegill bite has also been solid at Lower Otay, and Sydena Taylor of San Diego landed a 1.5-pound ‘gill on a nightcrawler fished in Harvey’s Arm. Quentin Ivy Jr. had a 1.45 pounder using the same approach. Upper Otay anglers have been averaging around a bass per do, with a few buegill also in the mix.  

Sutherland has been playing host to a variety-type bite, with bass, bluegill, redear, crappie and catfish all in the mix. Big fish of this past week was a 7.9-pound bass checked in by Johnny Vang of San Diego, who used a Senko at the east bank to make the catch.

Bassin’ at El Cap is producing better than a largemouth per rod, and the same can be said of Hodges.

In short, it’s pretty darn good all over the county.