Southern CA Freshwater

San Vicente best bet for bass bites in San Diego

Lake Jennings gets another trout plant

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 02, 2019

El Cap and Otay slower going, transitioning to post-spawn mode; Hodges still producing quality fish

LAKESIDE — Unless you have reservations to fish Barrett Reservoir this week, it would have to be San Vicente that should take the top spot on the San Diego lakes best bets for the time being, as the popular watershed is still in various phases of the spawn — mostly spawn and pre-spawn — and biting best among area bass lakes. While other lakes are transitioning more to post-spawn mode, San V’s bass are still chewing well and there have been plenty of football largemouth making appearances lately, especially for those tossing soft stickbaits.

“The bite is just stupid on 5-inch Thin Senkos,” said local guide Rusty Brown, who had clients out on San V twice this past week. “It’s a full-on Senko bite, but we also got a couple topwater fish on poppers around the island and the Toll Road Arm, along with a few good fish on Bass Assassin soft jerkbaits. The quality we found was pretty darn good. Our biggest went just over 7 for my client Yoshi from Tokyo and there were a lot of fish being caught in the 2- to 6-pound range. We caught fish all over the lake but I’d say the Kimball Arm is biting best right now.”

YOSHI AND HIS family from Tokyo, Japan had a blast fishing San Vicente with guide Rusty Brown last week, capitalizing on a good bite with 5-inch watermelon/red flake Senkos and drop-shotted Roboworms in the 10- to 20-foot zone in the Kimball Arm for largemouth to 7 pounds.

Color wise with the Senkos, Brown said baby basss and green pumpkin/black flake were the top performers, and that the largemouth were eating ‘em up at will. Brown added that he was mostly fishing the 8- to 15-foot zone, while another local guide, Jim Hallauer, said he’s been scoring all of his bites inside of 12 feet with a variety of soft plastics, including soft jerkbaits as well. By most recent accounts water clarity is much improved, sporting better conditions for sight fishing in the shallows at San V.

Meanwhile, across town at Lake Jennings, trout season got another little extension after a midweek plant of 1,500 pounds. With the lake open all week for spring break — Jennings is now back on its Friday-Sunday schedule — trout anglers capitalized on the stock and filled stringers through the weekend on a mix of minijigs, floating baits and ‘crawlers. Anglers weren’t the only ones in pursuit of the freshly-stocked rainbows, as there were reports of largemouth hounding the trout and some that clearly capitalized on a big meal with fish visibly in their mouths. While no big swimbait fish were reported as of press time, throwing the big baits should be a viable option in the week ahead.

El Capitan and Otay reservoirs are trending in the other direction, however, with both lakes giving up just a fair-at-best bite with the spawn pretty much in the rear-view for the most part. El Cap is fishing a few ticks better than Otay and there are still quite a few fish inside of 5 feet of water. Targeting grass flats and points with green pumpkin or watermelon/red flake Brush Hogs and drop-shotted Trick Worms has been an effective pattern in recent days and producing bass to 4 pounds. Otay is best in the Harvey Arm, where the 2- to 8-foot range has been the key zone. There’s been a few biters on soft jerkbaits and spinnerbaits, but margarita mutilator and bold bluegill Roboworms on the drop-shot or Texas rig have been tops for consistency.

Up the road at Lake Hodges in Escondido the bass scene has held pretty consistent, with fairly good numbers and a good showing from the reservoir’s quality model largemouth running 4 to 7 pounds. White spinnerbaits have come on as a top bait in recent days, lake staffer Laina Doan told WON, and also said that Texas-rigged black and purple worms have been scoring pretty well. There have also been some good fish caught on shad-pattern squarebills in the Del Dios Arm and the Narrows early in the mornings. To join the party, Hodges’ crappie have been picking up as well, especially for anglers getting out and soaking live shiners, which are producing some nice slabs in the 2-pound range.

LIVE SHINERS ARE producing some nice crappie to 2 pounds at Lake Hodges to go along with a good bass bite in terms of quality.

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Luna Sea Sports Ad
Advertise with Western Outdoor News