SILVERADO — This coming Friday night, June 8, will mark the “official” opening night for catfish anglers at Irvine Lake, although daytime anglers have been experiencing a strong daytime whiskerfish bite for the better part of a month.
Some 10,000 pounds of prime eating-size 2- to 8-pound channel cats will be planted this week to go along with the substantial population of blue catfish and channel catfish Irvine Lake is famous for. Additionally, thousands of pounds of channel cats will be stocked every week for the duration of the season.
Pro Shop Assistant Manager Jimmy Getty offered some timely tips for hopeful catfish-getters: “Your best bet to get a limit of channel cats is to fly-line [no weight] a 1-inch by 3-inch piece of mackerel on a 1/0 hook with 8-, 10-, or 12-pound line. If you want to try for the big blues, go with 15- to 30-pound line, a big chunk of bait, and 4/0 or larger hooks. Adding shrimp or scents like Gulp! Alive! or Bite-On Cajun Mackerel can really help. Another good trick to try is Carolina-rigging the marshmallow/mealworm combo, or just a nightcrawler with a small splitshot.”
Getty added, “During catfish season, the lake will remain open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and whenever there is a major tournament, we will stay open until 2 a.m. We will also stay open until 11 p.m. on Thursdays, and until 4 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. We will be closed on Tuesdays until the trout opener next fall.”
In 2011, In-Fisherman magazine selected Irvine Lake as one of the 50 best catfish lakes in the entire United States! The lake record for channel catfish is an impressive 50 pounds even, with the top mark for blue catfish standing at 89-6, with at least two other monster blues coming out of the lake that also topped the 89-pound mark. A potential record-busting 90- to 100-pound blue was seen just last week in the lake’s clear water, actively grubbing under a large rock trying to catch a tasty crawdad.
Reginald Walter Sr. of Carson had a 5-catfish limit, including a 12.6 pounder, using liver and shrimp in Boat Dock Cove. Nick Vega of Garden Grove managed cats of 8 and 5 pounds on mackerel at the Santiago Flats.
Trouters skilled in deep-water techniques still managed to find plenty of nice-looking rainbows in the 2- to 3-pound class this past week, along with a 15-pound whopper that proves they are still around. Top method was trolling with four to six colors of leadcore line, and dragging either a Firetiger-color Rapala Jointed J05, or a cop-car color Luhr Jensen Needlefish.
Marc Barajas of Huntington Beach nailed a 15-2 rainbow on a nightcrawler fished at the buoy line.
Bass anglers were a bit secretive again this past week, indicative of continuing good action on mostly 2- to 4-pound largemouth. Early mornings have been best to date for topwater baits, and the commencement of evening hours should yield excellent topwater action at dusk. Most of last week’s bass action was on drop-shot-rigged plastics and jigs fished at 10 to 20 feet, along with a few late spawners holding tight to the brush.
Wylie Ishi of Irvine used a drop-shot plastic at the south shore for a 6-pound largemouth.
Crappie anglers saw improved action as the slabs came out of their post-spawn lull. Evening hours will also help crappie anglers, who are best served by setting out a floating lantern and allowing about an hour for the food chain of insects and minnows to build up underneath the boat; the crappie will soon follow. White Atomic Tubes with a mealworm trailer are the standard fare for crappie chasers.
The Kids Lagoon will also receive a stocking load of channel catfish for the opener, and this area is reserved for families with children age 12 and under.
KIDS AND SUMMER CATFISHING AT IRVINE LAKE — Irvine Lake kicks off its summer catfish season this week and already there have been a number of big blue catfish caught to go along with some pretty good stringers of channel cats. Young Jack Baumgaruten of Saugus hooked into this fat channel catfish during an outing to the lake. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC