Southern CA Freshwater

Santee: Santee Lake gets final trout plant of season

Swimbait event March 7, catfish opens mid-April

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Mar 04, 2020

SANTEE — The trout season has reached the quarter pole and is turning down the home stretch at Santee Lakes but the fun isn’t over just yet as a 3,000-pound delivery of Mt. Lassen rainbows went in midweek, which should keep the good times rolling deep into March like a well polished college basketball team (San Diego State, anyone?). Lakes 2, 3 and 4 received 1,000 pounds of trout apiece to help keep rods bending in East County, in what was Santee’s final stocking of the season.

whiletroutWHILE TROUT HEADLINED the weekend’s action at Santee, it was this fat 9-pound largemouth that took Whopper of the Week honors for local Jake Evans, who fooled the big bass with a Rat-L-Trap in Lake 1 earlier in the week.

“Fishing started out a bit slow with the warmer weather this week but it really picked up by the weekend,” said Parks and Rec. Coordinator Rich Imbimbo. “A hot bait for the weekend was chartreuse PowerBait mixed with nightcrawlers, but many anglers did well on trout with spoons, Rooster Tails and minijigs too.” Jig tossers are doing best with cricket and grasshopper patterns.

Notable hot spots since the stocking have been the south shorline of Lake 2, the southeast corner of Lake 3 and the west banks of Lake 4, according to Imbimbo, who added that despite not being stocked since early January, a few solid lightning trout made their way onto stringers to complement a fair share of rainbow limits coming out.

But while it was all about the trout over the weekend, it was a 9-pound largemouth caught early in the week by local Jake Evans that took Whopper of the Week honors at Santee – the big bass was fooled with a Rat-L-Trap in Lake 1. More and more fish are nosing around the shallows now and the first full wave should be up in spawning zones with this next full moon.

Bass anglers should note that this Saturday, March 7 will be the first Swimbait Invasion Expo event at Santee from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors will be on hand selling baits and apparel, and there will be a beer garden (Alpine Brewing) along with food on site. Following, there will be a swimbaits-only night tournament from 7 to 9 p.m. in Lakes 1-4 – $40 buy-in with cash and prizes at stake. All proceeds from beer sales at the event will go directly to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Imbimbo said.

Catfish season at Santee will kick off next month, with opening weekend set for April 18-19. Imperial will again be the lakes’ whiskerfish supplier this year, and tagged fish along with trophy-caliber cats to 16 pounds are slated to be part of the initial stocking.

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