Southern CA Freshwater

Bass numbers shining at Castaic Lake

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 16, 2019

CASTAIC — Bass are currently in all three stages of the spawn at Castaic Lake and the bite is very good at the moment in strict regard to sheer numbers. Helping things along are the lake’s shad, which are cropping up more frequently — including some bigger threadfin around 3½ inches long — and that has opened things up a little more as far as bait selection goes, including some topwater action. While it’s been a bit of chore to find better quality bass, overall counts have been excellent, including a few anglers who reported getting into huge numbers last week.

A NICE BRONZEBACK on a Carolina-rigged C3 Ice Pick in Neptune Shad for lake regular John Petroski.

“Castaic continues to be real solid and the lake is starting to head into its post-spawn feeding frenzy,” said Lake regular John Petroski. “At least for the smaller fish it’s been really good with a few chunks coming here and there. We’ve also got a lot of water and the stripers are getting active on the bait bite in 60 to 80 feet for those who like to anchor — cut sardines are the ticket there.” Petroski said he found a mixed bag of largemouth and smallies on C3 Baits Ice Picks and Shimmies fished on the drop-shot or Carolina rig, and added that the smallies, including a few solid bronzebacks, are holding a little deeper than their largemouth brethren.

While there’s been an emerging topwater bite early, plastics are still ruling the roost at Castaic, though with the increased presence of shad in the water, Fluke Jrs in smoking shad rigged on scrounger heads have gotten hot in recent days, and a few fish are now eating the jerkbait early as well. Otherwise it’s been soft plastics stacking up the numbers.

“It’s a really good bite right now on Green Pumpkin Senkos and Roboworms in Aaron’s Magic, Aaron’s Green Pumpkin and Bold Bluegill,” said SoCal guide Rusty Brown. “Ned worms and Ikas in Green Pumpkin have also been good. The Fish Arm has been best, especially Hawk’s Nest, Elizabeth Canyon and Sharon’s Rest in 10 to 20 feet of water. It’s still a lot of smaller fish but the quality is starting to get better. The water temp is still a little cooler than normal for this time of year because there’s still an influx of colder water coming in from Elderberry Creek, and once these shad really get going full throttle it’s going to open up that reaction bite with underspins, topwater, swimbaits… whatever you want to throw that resembles a shad.”

Another guide who works Castaic frequently, Jim Taibi of 661 Fishing, echoed Brown’s sentiments in saying that he too has been finding his best action in 10 to 20 feet of water in the Fish Arm. Five-inch Senkos in Green Pumpkin/Black Flake have been doing the job for Taibi’s clients, and the guide also said adding a little chartreuse coloration to baits to give a little bit of a bluegill tint to ‘em has been effective in getting more bites. “Three-inch Keitech Spiders and PowerTeam Texas Rig Jigs are worth fishing when the bite ever gets slower,” Taibi said, who also added that the lake is getting close to full pool.

Castaic local Jay Poore said he had a few buddies this past week who racked up huge numbers, one such duo putting 103 biters on the boat, though many of those were sub-keeper bass. That said, the action has been fast paced and a fun bite. Poore said that drop-shotted Prizm Shad Roboworms have been the go-to bait for him and a few of his fishing buds. He also noted that he’s starting to see a few healthy-sized crappie moseying around in 10 to 12 feet around flooded brush.

TOM FOSTER GOT this smallie to go last week on a drop-shotted Robo in prism shad.

FINESSE FISHING WITH the drop-shot and split-shot setups got John Ernst Jr. into some good action at Castaic last week.

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