Umarex Gauntlet


Southern CA Freshwater

Lake Perris bass slowly transitioning out of winter mode

BY MIKE STEVENS/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 08, 2019

PERRIS — It’s February, which means murmuring and chatter and heresay and breeze-shootin’ is about to be dominated by predictions of which lake’s bass is going to spawn first. Early indicators based on all weekly intel collected by WON suggest it will likely be one of the big Riverside County lakes, and if forced to pick one, it would probably be Perris.

kennybaldwinKENNY BALDWIN WITH a couple nice Lake Perris green ones.

Bass have been holding deep at Perris for at least a couple months, but the lake’s regulars were already noticing a gradual trend toward shallower environs as much as a few weeks ago. That was when Perris devotee and regular WON source David Clay predicted the lake’s bass would be locked into pre-spawn in “4 or 5 weeks.”

Mentone angler Michael Craig is another on Perris and in reporting to WON after his weekly outings. It’s worth noting that he predominantly fishes with his own, garage-made Prankster line of reaction baits, including topwaters and blades.

“I’d been struggling to catch a keeper until two days ago when I got a 4.5 pounder with one of my spinnerbaits,” said Craig. “It’s still tough, but the water is warming up and fish are moving up shallow to spawn.”

The bulk of the bass are still being caught relatively deep during this slow transition. SoCal guide Rusty Brown is putting his clients on green ones with jigs, drop-shots and Ned rigs. He singled out Roboworms in Margarita Mutilator and Aaron’s Green Pumpkin.

for the plastics, and he said Rock Climber’s Cove and the area around the Tire Reef have been producing. Brown said the key is working “slow and methodically” regardless of what you’re throwing, and he said slow-rolling a blade or Alabama rig has been drawing some grabs when there is some wind chop.

Kenny Baldwin of Producer Plugs told WON he’s getting most of his fish in 35 to 40 feet of water.

“They’re active, and sometimes a small school will show up on the graph under the boat while I’m unhooking one, and they’re often spitting out 4-inch shad on the way in,” said Baldwin. “I’ve been targeting structure and cover that sits in the depth range, and then I just look for other areas that line up the same; typical pattern fishing.”

But patterns aside, Baldwin also said he often sticks some bigger bass “out in the middle of nowhere” away from the structure he’s targeting. Oh, there is a catch, he caught them while trolling his Producer Flies on leadcore line.

“They are ‘belly-to-the-bottom’ and scattered across those areas,” he added. “I’ve caught 64 bass over the last six trips; 13 over 4 pounds, and a bonus flathead (catfish) and striper.”

Staffers at Lake Perris Marina said the lake continues to rise and should be at full-pool by the end of the month. They are also bringing in an ADA walkway so all visitors will have access to the Marina Dock.

The Annual O.A. Tommy Thomas Kids Fishing Derby is coming up on April 6. That’s for anglers age 15 and under and includes prizes, assistance from experienced anglers that will be on hand and a free BBQ. It’s a free event upon paid day-use entry ($10) and takes place at Sail Cove from 7 a.m. until noon. Bring your rod and reel, bait, tackle, cooler, chairs and sunscreen, and for more info, call Ranger David Jackson at (951) 941-5647.

SoCAL GUIDE Mike Southerland connected with a couple 1-pound bluegills that ate a crankbait near the Dam at Lake Perris.

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