Southern CA Freshwater

Santee: Trout season off and running at Santee Lakes

Rainbows to 8-plus pounds highlight opening weekend

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 07, 2019

SANTEE — San Diego County’s first trout action of the 2019/’20 season is now underway at Santee Lakes after a major stocking set the stage for this past weekend’s opener. Anglers lined the banks shoulder to shoulder on Saturday and Sunday to get their first taste of local trouting in many moons, and for most folks the fishing was good, with a pretty good haul of limits coming out and rainbows going over 8 pounds being creeled from Lakes 2, 3, 4 and 7, each of which was planted with about 800 pounds worth of rainbows and around 200 pounds of lightning trout from Mt. Lassen Trout Farm prior to the weekend.

THE BIGGEST ’BOW of the Santee Lakes trout opener this past weekend, an 8-pound, 12-ounce torpedo by local angler Kevin Bridge.

“The bait to throw this past weekend was the minijig, no question about it,” said Santee Parks and Recreation Co­ordinator Richard Imbimbo. “Probably about 90 percent of the fish caught were biting hard on minijigs, and I’d say that Atomic Teasers and Hookup Baits were the hot baits for the weekend. A lot of fish up into the 7- and 8-pound range were caught but there are still some fish in the 10- to 13-pound range dispersed throughout the lakes.”

The biggest reported rainbow of the weekend went to local angler Kevin Bridge for his 8-pound, 12-ounce torpedo trout, earning him the top prize of a new swimbait rod from East County Bait and Tackle.

Runner-up went to Cesar Tellez for his 8.07 pounder.

While catching was good for the opener, there are still plenty of fish in the four lakes that have been stocked, including tagged fish good for prizes if caught and those aforementioned trophy-caliber double-digit models Imbimbo made note of. The next trout plant on the schedule is slated for early December, he said, that being a 2,000-pound delivery from Mt. Lassen.

Avid San Diego trout angler Michael Wolfe of the “trout­-zillas” group on Instagram rarely misses a Santee Opener and was among the masses lining its waters bright and early Saturday morning before putting together his own solid limit, capped off in style with a 7.6-pound kicker rainbow for good measure.

“The lightning (trout) were the first to bite and the majority of fish I saw being caught were on minijigs,” Wolfe said. “There were fish caught in all the lakes, but out of the four lakes stocked, Lake 2 was producing the most. I caught my limit there under the bridge on a 1⁄32-ounce pink Hookup Bait, including the 7-6.”

wolfingitdownWOLFING IT DOWN — Rarely missing a Santee trout opener, San Diego’s Michael Wolfe used a 1⁄32-ounce pink Hookup Bait to flush out his limit out of Lake 2 from under the bridge, highlighted by this 7.6 pounder.

•   •   •   •   •

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 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.

Advertise with Western Outdoor News