Southern CA Freshwater

Silverado: Irvine bass heating up as waters cool

Early surface bite rock solid

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Oct 03, 2019

Catfish conveyor belt still turning too

SILVERADO – Monster channel and blue catfish pushing the 20-pound mark highlighted the first few weeks of Irvine Lake’s renewed access to the fishing public since its Aug. 17 reopening, but this most recent wave of cooler weather has kicked the bass bite into gear and has Irvine’s largemouth firing on all cylinders here in the early fall. As tackle shop manager Daniela Gavaldon reported to WON, “Bass fishing is red hot!”

A RAPALA SHAD RAP fooled this solid Irvine Lake largemouth for Travis Oba of Yorba Linda.

That indeed appears to be the case, especially so in the early mornings when topwater opportunities aplenty are being taken advantage of by those in the know getting out first thing in the morning and plying the surface.

“I saw a guy catching fish at Sandstone Rock at around 7:45, threw in my topwater walking bait and it was game on!” said local basser Donnie Chilla of his Saturday outing. “Me and my buddy Ed and the other guy probably caught 20-plus largemouth in maybe 15, 20 minutes, and most of the fish were in the 2½- to 5-pound range. It was completely wide open and the best day I’ve ever had on this lake!”

Irvine regular Rich Richardson of Long Beach has been hitting the lake often since its reopening, and was out and about the banks all three days this past weekend. “Bass fishing was hot on 1- to 3-pound bass on topwater in the morning on the west shore and around Trout Island near the fence line. A couple of the girls working at the lake are saying the bite’s pretty good along the west shore where the weeds are up on the shoreline.”

Poppers and walking baits are doing most of the damage up top but buzzbaits are picking off a few and anglers are also connecting early on shad-pattern crankbaits, underspins, soft jerkbaits and spoons before shifting things up to crawdad imitations seems to be as good a route as any through the day — jigs and plastic craw baits are scoring largemouth to 4-plus pounds.

Catfish into the double digits are still making appearances at the lake as well, though this weekend didn’t witness any threats to breaking that elusive 20-pound mark. Still, quality whiskerfish to 11 pounds were checked in through the weekend with most still preferring mackerel dipped in garlic scent. Shrimp is also getting the occasional catfish bite, while solid bluegill action remains an option for anglers opting to soak live worms, and a few big ‘gills have been caught around Santiago Flats.

THE WEEDS ALONG the west shoreline have been a productive bass spot in the mornings at Irvine.

qualitycatfishQUALITY CATFISH CONTINUE to eat mackerel at Irvine, as shown here by Harrison Maner of Lake Forest and this nice kitty caught over the weekend.

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