By The Bakersfield Californian
Kern County, southern San Joaquin Valley
LAKE ISABELLA: Catfish, crappie bites very good over the past week. Catfish have been best on live minnow with fish to 4-plus pounds showing, while the crappie are very good in 25 to 30 feet of water around structure on small minnows. The crappie are running up to a pound or better. Late fall-early winter is always produces a few bigger bass even when the overall bite is tough. When the trout plants resume, it will be a good time to hurl bigger swimbaits for the big bass. DFG trout plant this week.
KERN RIVER: The upper river trout bite is good, but mostly for fly anglers fishing the wild or holdover fish with some surface action this past week, but very good nymph fishing. Water flows remain very low with the fish stacked up in the bigger pools and bait anglers are still getting some fish on salmon eggs. DFG plants on the upper river this week. The lower river also has very low flows and there has been a fair bite on trout in the Sandy Flat area with fish to two or three pounds showing. Pretty good smallmouth bite in the lower, lower river but most of the fish are small. No DFG plants in the Kern slated for this week.
AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: The striper bite excellent and remains the best bite in the whole region. Most of the stripers are smaller fish below the 18-inch minimum keeper size and a few bigger fish to about 6 pounds. Anglers are having 15 to 20 fish days (or more) with just one or two legal fish in the catch. This bite is best on sardines, blood worms, or sand worms, with a few fish on Gitzits and Rat-L-Traps. Catfish slow.
MILL CREEK PARK: Few reports. Bluegill, catfish bites slowed.
RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: DFG trout plant this week. Light fishing pressure and mostly slow fishing before this plant.
HART PARK LAKE: DFG trout plant this week. A few bluegill continue to show on wax worms, meal worms and crickets, but this bite is slowing. The carp bite is also slowing. Few bass.
TRUXTUN LAKE: DFG trout plant this week. Slow to fair bluegill action. The carp action has slowed with few anglers fishing them on dough baits.
MING LAKE: DFG trout plant this week. Low water conditions has stacked the fish on a few spots. Bluegill continue fair, but slowing as water temps drop.
BRITE LAKE: DFG trout plant this week.
BUENA VISTA LAKES: Trout plant last week. The action has been best on small trout jigs and plastics or the usual array of floating baits. The winter crappie bite is still fair with fish to a pound or better on small minnows and mini jigs. Few reports on other species.
WOOLLOMES LAKE: DFG trout plant this week. Still very low water levels. The early morning and late evening bass bite is just rated fair. Panfish action slowing with only a few bluegill reported on small baits.
SUCCESS LAKE: Bass action in the low water continues fair to good for some anglers. Best action on drop-shot plastics and Senko-type lures with some topwater around weed mats. The bluegill bite is slowing with only a few fish on wax worms or redworms in 12 to 20 feet of water. Few other reports.
KAWEAH LAKE: Bass bite has been fair on plastics and some reaction bait fish. The bluegill action is fair and slowing on the usual array of small baits. A few catfish are being caught on cut baits, but other species slow.
Other regional lakes
CACHUMA: A 4,000-pound trout plant last Thursday improved the trout bite tremendously with a lot of limits reported over the weekend. The rain put some runoff into the lake and this perked the catfish bite in coves where there was runoff. The smallmouth and largemouth bass action has been slowish.
CASITAS: The big Nebraska Tailwalker trout plant that went in four weeks ago has made for a consistent trout bite.
CASTAIC: DFG trout plant this week and two weeks ago and the recent plant perked up both the trout action and the striper bite. The stripers have been best along the buoy line and in Necktie Canyon. The trout are best along the marina shoreline. A few catfish in Oak Canyon and off Kong Island on cut baits.
PIRU: The bass bite has been spotty in 8-25 feet of water. Pretty good crappie bite on structure. Many catches of 10-15 fish this past week, most are half to three-quarter pounders.
PYRAMID: Pretty good striper bite after recent DFG plants. Rainbow trout action fair. Stripers up to 10 pounds or more on trout-like lures, while the trout have been best on PowerBait and small lures. Largemouth bass bite fair. Fair catfish bite.
SAN ANTONIO: The action slowed with the weather this past week, but the stripers looked to be coming back on the bite before the latest storm moved in. Other species slow.
NACIMIENTO: Spotted bass and white bass slow to fair.
SANTA MARGARITA: Most species slow.
LOPEZ: Weather slowed the bite even more this past week, but a few crappie and redear continue to show on small baits and jigs. The bass bite is just fair.
KERN: Brite Valley Reservoir, Hart Park Lake, Kern River (Sections 4 and 5), Lake Isabella, Ming Lake, River Walk Lake, Truxtun Lake, Woollomes Lake.
TULARE: Kern River (Section 5).
LONG RANGE CONTINUES HOT: The long, long-range boats out of San Diego continue to hammer away on the big tuna off the tip of Baja, but there has been a lull in the giant yellowfin tuna this week with only a handful of fish over 200 pounds and none over 250 pounds reported. The Intrepid returned this past week with the top fish a 227-poundeer, along with fish at 219 and 216. The Royal Polaris is fishing on the big fish grounds now and has reported fish up to 200 pounds early this week in a very good bite.
SOCAL UPDATE: For most of the landings from San Diego into the Orange County and Los Angeles area waters, the fishing report is sounding like a broken record: Light loads, excellent bottom fishing. Skippers are reporting more red rockfish this season than in a long time, and they are making up three-quarters of the catch in many instances. With red snapper selling for $13 to $16 a pounds, anglers can again make a cast to go on these half- and three-quarter day trips to get a few dinners of prime filets in a cost-effective way. While the bite has mostly been rockfish, there is also a nice mix of sculpin, whitefish and a smattering of ling cod and calico bass in the bite, mostly because live squid is available for sportboats all along the coast. The squid are here in huge numbers. Just a couple of examples of how good this bite has been: The Sum Fun out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing was on a three-quarter day trip with 15 anglers and they landed 89 rockfish, 51 red snapper, 20 sand dabs, 19 sculpin, 15 sheephead, 12 whitefish, 10 bocaccio, three perch, and two triggerfish. That's 15 fish per angler. The Victory out of Pierpoint Landing was out with 12 anglers on Sunday and they landed 93 rockfish, 38 sheephead, 21 whitefish, 19 perch, eight sculpin, seven calicos and seven sand bass.
CHANNEL ISLANDS STILL EXCEPTIONAL: Limits of rockfish have been the rule for virtually all of the boats running out of Channel Islands Sportfishing over the past month week. In addition to the rockfish, most of these trips are also seeing quite a few whitefish, sheephead and lings. On Monday, the Island Tak was on a full-day charter with 12 anglers and they returned with 120 rockfish (limits), 46 whitefish, 24 ling cod, 15 sheephead, and two calico bass. On Sunday, the Gentleman was on an open party three-quarter day trip with 33 anglers and they landed 330 rockfish, 30 whitefish, eight sculpin and two lings.