SILVERADO — Catfish anglers found red-hot catfish action this past week at Irvine Lake, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. “The catfish bite has been phenomenal,” observed Getty. “A surprising number of catfish are being caught all day long, but when the sun goes down, it goes absolutely bonkers.”
Getty added, “The cats are holding in very shallow water down to about 15 feet all over the lake, including Boat Dock Cove, Woody’s Cove, Santiago Flats and the west shoreline. It’s been a really nice mix of both stockers and holdovers, along with a few of the bigger blue cats. Interestingly, schools of hybrid striped bass are also moving through from time to time, and are attacking the baits intended for catfish.”
Top baits for catfish were mackerel and shrimp, with the best presentation being fly-lining with no sinker at all. A smaller 1- by 3-inch piece of mackerel on a size 1 or 2 hook was the ticket for a limit of channel cats, with large chunks or even a whole mackerel fillet on a 4/0 or larger hook the way to sort for a big blue.
Steve Sotelo of Whittier used mackerel in Boat Dock Cove for a 17.2-pound blue catfish. Robert Martinez of Long Beach used the same bait for an 8.5-pound channel catfish at Rocky Point.
Bass fishing is very good for 2- to 7-pound largemouth, although getting anything but sketchy details out of serious bassers was difficult. Evening and nighttime hours had topwaters, frogs, and 10-inch Power Worms working well, while daytime anglers did well with jigs and Carolina-rigged plastics. Productive locations included Rocky Point and the Red Clay Cliffs. Incidental catches of 6- to 15-pound hybrid striped bass were reported in decent numbers by catfish anglers. Anglers are reminded that all bass species are strictly catch and release at Irvine Lake.
Chris Hagopian of Redondo Beach caught and released a 15-pound wiper while soaking mackerel at the flats, and Randy Aamot of Newport Beach had a 7.4-pound largemouth on a plastic worm fished at the west shore.
Crappie anglers are finding their quarry to be just getting started with its summer run, but bluegill anglers are finding large numbers of ’gills of exceptionally large size biting on mealworms and Gulp! Crickets in brushy shallows. Surprising numbers of 2-pound-class rainbow trout are still being caught along the west shoreline by anglers skilled in deep-water trolling techniques using four to six colors of leadcore line and cop-car or bikini color Luhr Jensen Needlefish.
Families with children age 12 and under were doing well on stocker-size channel catfish in the Kids Lagoon, mostly using the marshmallow/mealworm combo during evening hours. Surface temperature on the main lake is in the high 70s, with underwater visibility rated very clear. The lake level is dropping about 6 inches per week.
STEVE SOTELO OF WHITTER is pictured here with a 17.2-pound blue catfish he caught while fishing at night with a chunk of mackerel in Irvine Lake’s Boat Dock Cove.