Southern CA Freshwater

Silverado: Irvine Lake serving up steady catfish bite

Big bluegill numbers

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 11, 2019

SILVERADO — The crowds at Irvine Lake have expectedly tapered off in size since its reopening over three weeks ago with the nearly 4,000 folks who descended on Silverado Canyon opening day on Aug. 17. However, there are still plenty of anglers lining the banks and plying the lake’s waters for catfish, bluegill and bass and finding good success on all three species.


longtimeteam1aLONGTIME TEAM 57 anglers Chris Hagopian and Terry Lairson found a solid catfish bite on Saturday morning, scoring these two 12-pound-class channel cats on mackerel dipped in Bite-On Garlic scent while fishing Santiago Flats.

Longtime Team 57 Chris Hagopian and Terry Lairson have been hitting Irvine regularly and did so again both days this past weekend. Targeting channel catfish, each of them landed multiple big cats in the 8- to 12-pound range while soaking fresh mackerel dipped in Bite-On Garlic scent at Santiago Flats. Buddy Rich Richardson of Long Beach ventured south to join them on Sunday and found similar success to cap off the weekend.

“After my buddies had such a good day, I fished Irvine with them on Sunday and caught two more double-digit cats myself, so the lake is producing some nice cats for not stocking the lake,” Richardson said. “Chris and Terry were always getting the huge ones back in the day — I think their biggest was around 55 pounds — so hopefully somebody gets one of those huge ones here. The bluegill bite was also going off on mealworms.”

The bluegill bite has indeed been rock solid with very good numbers showing, while key improvements are still being made at the lake, according to Daniela Gavaldon, tackle store manager at the lake. “The fishing is holding up with the bluegill population keeping lots of anglers entertained while they wait for the big cats to bite,” she said. “The Santiago Flats have been producing quality cats into the double digits and bass have been reported ‘all over the place.’

“Conditions at the lake are improving with vital improvements being made,” Gavaldon continued. “A water truck has been added to make the roads much easier and more pleasant to walk, so that’s going to make things nicer for fishermen going forward.”

RICH RICHARDSON VENTURED out to Irvine Lake on Sunday and scored this nice catfish.

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