Southern CA Freshwater

Quality rainbows still showing at Big Bear Lake

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 11, 2018

Trout numbers dip due to heat wave,
holiday pressure

BIG BEAR LAKE — This past holiday week brought droves of visitors to Big Bear Valley, putting heavy boating and fishing pressure on the lake throughout the festive weekend. Prior to the midweek holiday the trout bite had been pretty steady early and late, but the combination of thousands of folks along with all the fireworks and warmer day temps put a dent in the action for post-Independence Day fishers.

fourthfishFOURTH FISH — A black fly fooled this 3-pound, 10-ounce ’bow on the afternoon of July 4th on a charter with Big Bear Charter Fishing.

“The catchin’ action was a little slow with all the pressure on the lake,” said Steve Raphael at Big Bear Sporting Goods, “but we still saw some nice fish come in, and had a few first timers walk away with their first-ever fish. The percussion and shock waves from the fireworks tends to cause a sensory overload to the fish that makes them ‘stymied’ for a bit, but don’t be discouraged because the bite usually bounces back in a few days.”

Raphael said surface temps are between 65 and 67 degrees going east to west in the lake and that dissolved oxygen levels are good lake-wide despite the low water level. “East of Eagle Point the depths become very shallow and the lower levels have left a number of navigational hazards looming unseen just below the surface,” Raphael told WON. “Several boaters have lost props or damaged hulls in this area, so be aware out there.”

Some significant weed growth is starting to come in throughout the lake, something that’s pretty common this time of year. However, the lake has been given a “clean” rating by the state.

FIRST FISH FUN for father and son Matthew and Justin at Big Bear Lake. After picking up some new tackle at Big Bear Sporting Goods, the fellas went out and stringered this solid 3.9-pound rainbow.

“Fishing from either the north or south shores west of the buoy line allows bankies to avoid most of the weeds,” Raphael added. “Using a slip bobber with a suspended nightcrawler or PowerBait in 8 to 15 feet is a good way to go.”

On the boating end of things, Raphael said to get back after it on the troll with the holiday crowds in the rear-view mirror. He recommends trolling or drift fishing 200 to 300 yards off the south shore between Metcalf Bay and the buoy line in the 6 to 15-foot depths — or two to three colors of leadcore — and either dropping back live bait behind a wedding ring or micro flashers, or towing lures like Needlefish in Pearl with Red, Bikini or Copper Red Heads, and Red/Gold 1/6-ounce Thomas Buoyant spoons.

Bullhead catfish continue to chomp ‘crawlers off the bottom at a good clip to keep youngsters’ rods bent, especially so at Juniper Point. Papoose Bay remains the top spot to hunt down a few bass bites, with jigs, plastics and mid-range crankbaits being the best go-to bait options.

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