Southern CA Freshwater

Winchester: Lake Skinner slipping into fall patterns

BY MIKE STEVENS/WON Staff Writer Published: Oct 03, 2019

WINCHESTER — With catfish continuing to stand as the “best bite” at Lake Skinner, striped bass are starting to activate as the best time of year to target them closes in. Meanwhile, fishing for largemouth bass is fair overall, but hot bites on that stage are popping up with increasing frequency as summer gives way to fall.

CHRIS NICKERSON AND Brian Day with a few Lake Skinner largemouth bass.

“It was tough, but I got three largemouth for my efforts,” said Phenix pro staffer Chris Nickerson after a recent outing on Skinner. “Conditions were flat calm, and the three fish I caught were on flipped Senkos. Usually this time of year, the flip and frog bite is insane.”

Most WON sources that know Lake Skinner best are in a holding pattern in anticipation for the fall bite to take off, but there have been some biters for those getting out there anyway. The North Shore and the area across from the Marina have been hanging out close to the banks, and those willing to cooperate are being caught on Roboworms, jerkbaits and even topwater.

Historically, stripers also turn on in fall when boiling fish pop up all over the lake and limits come pretty easy. At the moment, there are some boilers being found early by the dam and throughout the East End as big schools of baitfish push toward the surface.

The final catfish stock of the season went in on Sept. 27 which stoked a bite that has already been red hot. Ramp 2 and the Inlet have been the top spots, but plenty of stringers are being loaded up in just about any cove accessible by shore anglers. Recent biggies include an 11 pounder that ate chicken livers at Ramp 2, and an 8 that fell for the same bait along the South Shore. Anchovies are another bait that has been productive on the catfish stage in recent weeks.

While Skinner is an underrated panfish hole loaded with big bluegill, fishing for them has been very slow. There are plenty of big carp out there for anglers just looking to have fun and get some drag pulled. The water level is down a little, and water temps are bouncing around 73 degrees.

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