Southern CA Freshwater Fishing Report

Central Coast lakes providing a welcomed respite from the inland heat

BY BRADLEY SCHWEIT/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 10, 2013

CENTRAL COAST — Anglers looking to escape the central California heat have been heading to the coastal lakes in droves, and Lopez, Casitas, Nacmiento, San Antonio and Santa Margarita have all been offering some sort of bite.

Most notable, however, would likely be the most recent trout plant, which arrived at Lake Lopez on Tuesday, July 2. A total of 900 pounds of rainbows (1,800 fish) were dumped into the lake from the DFW hatchery in Fresno. Those just-catchables may not be providing much in the way of action just yet, but they will in the coming months and years.

Bass have also been biting steadily at the lake, and Joe Lopez of Nipomo used a crankbait at the dam for a 4.4-pound largemouth. Trinity Lopez scored a 2-pound, 15 ouncer on a spinnerbait in Cottonwood Cove.

Casitas’ largemouth have also been showing decently enough for anglers targeting the fish predominantly in the morning and evening hours.


BRIAN’S BASS — Brian Grieg of Santa Monica fished Lake Casitas with Marc Mitrany of Ojai Angler Guide Service and scored this 9-pound largemouth while fishing a live threadfin.

“As far as bass fishing,” remarked John Lopez of Casitas Boat Rentals, “there’s been a little bit of surface action the first couple hours of the morning or the last hour of the evening. Some guys spending the time are still finding shad and catching fish on those, as well. Other than that, it’s been plastic worms or live worms in the middle of the day, down on the bottom in 20 to 30 feet or so.”

Zack Baird of Ventura used a ‘crawler for a 7-pound largemouth, and another Zack, Zack Plott, had a 6 pounder on a plastic worm.

There weren’t a number of catfish reported last week, but lake regular and catfish aficionado, Bruce Baxter of Fillmore, bagged a 12 pounder while soaking mackerel.

“We are still seeing some trout,” Lopez added. “Guys are catching them at 40 feet deep and they have been trolling. One guy had a few fish just trolling nightcrawlers.”

Nacimiento was absolutely slammed with pleasure boaters and water sports enthusiasts since the 4th of July holiday, so there wasn’t much fishing taking place last week.

Nevertheless, marina staffers did note a few anglers were reporting boiling white bass around the mid-lake area. Spotted bass were also showing in the backs of various coves, away from the boat traffic.

Overall fishing action should improve this week once the boat traffic subsides and the fish have had a couple of days to recuperate.

Your best bet at San Antonio this past week was to target catfish, according to lake staffers. The shad are still in deeper water, so the lake’s stripers have yet to really get going on the surface. For the kitties, stick with nightcrawlers or m&m combos.

The crappie bite has been decent in the shallows at the north end of the lake, however, staffers advise boaters to use caution when heading that way, as the water is extremely shallow. Like a number of other fisheries, water levels are also down at San Anton.

For large and smallmouth bass, work nightcrawlers or plastic worms; and if you’d like to give the stripers a try, soak cut bait in 25 to 50 feet of water.

Santa Margarita offered a bit of everything last week, with bass, catfish and crappie all taken.

Similar to Casitas, the lake was hosting a respectable topwaterbass bite in the morning and evening hours, and various locales around the lake were producing well. For catfish, Vaca Flats and mackerel seemed to be the winning combination, and crappie were taking angler offerings in the back of the Narrows.