By The Bakersfield Californian
TROUT PLANTS UPDATE: Department of Fish and Game trout plants have been impacted in the Kern County region by two problems in succession resulting in few plants being made this year. The first problem was with the Kern River Hatchery. The hatchery was shut down for over a month as pumps were replaced and new wells drilled so the upgraded hatchery would always have water cold enough to hold broodstock trout year-around. Second, the DFG's aging fleet of hatchery trucks had to be retrofitted with new air pollution equipment. Most waters that normally receive plants every other week have been planted only once or twice the entire season (which began in October), and DFG plants are unlikely to made in the foreseeable future. Lake Ming and Riverwalk Park were planted last week when a truck made a special run from the San Joaquin Hatchery.
LAKE ISABELLA: Catfish bite has continued good. The catfish have been best on live minnows and shad with fish to four pounds or better showing. There have also been a fair number of quality largemouth bass showing on bigger swimbaits.
KERN RIVER: The upper river trout bite is fair, but mostly for fly anglers fishing the wild or holdover fish, mostly on nymphs. 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. The lower river also has very low flows and bite is slow.
AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: The striper bite is excellent and remains the best bite in the whole region. While most of the fish are still below the 18-inch minimum keeper size, there are more and more fish showing above that size than in the past month with quite a few six to eight-pound fish reported. Many anglers still landing 10 or 15 fish per trip. Slow catfish action.
MILL CREEK PARK: Slow.
RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: DFG trout plant late last week, and anglers are reporting a decent trout bite on PowerBait and plastic trout worms.
HART PARK LAKE: The water level low. Few bluegill showing on wax worms, but this bite has slowed way down.
TRUXTUN LAKE: Very slow fishing and no trout plants.
MING LAKE: A surprise DFG trout plant went in late last week. Other species slow.
BRITE LAKE: Very slow.
BUENA VISTA LAKES: County trout were planted this week and three weeks ago. The bite has been very good with limits pretty common. Crappie slow.
WOOLLOMES LAKE: Slow fishing. No recent DFG plants. Other species have also slowed way down with the cold water temperatures.
SUCCESS LAKE: Bass action in the low water has been slow to fair. Best action on drop-shot plastics or jigging spoons in deeper water. Bluegill bite slow in deep water. DFG trout plant last week.
KAWEAH LAKE: The bass bite had been slow to fair on plastics and jigs in deeper water. The bluegill action is slow with the best bite in deeper water. DFG trout plant this week. Other species slow.
Other regional lakes
CACHUMA: Excellent trout action afcter a 4,000-pound plant last Thursday from Calaveras, and there were some quality fish in that plant. Rainbows to 5 pounds continue to show. The largemouth and smallmouth action has been slow.
CASITAS: The trout bite has been fair since the 4,000-pound trout plant just before Christmas, but the shoreline action has dwindled and most of the fish are being caught by trollers now. Bass bite slowed as the fish went deep. The redear bite is slow, but a few are showing for shoreline trout anglers fishing nightcrawlers in deeper water.
CASTAIC: DFG trout plants this week and three weeks ago, and the bite is best along the marina shoreline on PowerBait, nightcrawlers and small trout lures and jigs. The stripers have been showing over the past week on plastic worms and nightcrawlers, of all things, mostly along the shoreline at the main launch ramp. Also some fish showing in deep water. The largemouth bass have been best in Utopia and Firebreak Coves on jigs and Lunker Plunkers in 50 to 65 feet of water.
LOPEZ: Very slow fishing with light fishing pressure. Only a few bass on deeply-fished plastics or jigs. Other species slow.
NACIMIENTO: Spotted bass and white bass have been slow with the weather keeping most anglers away. Few reports on catfish or panfish.
PIRU: Mostly slow action. A few largemouth bass are showing on jigging spoons and ice jigs in 30 to 70 feet of water, but the top catch in a weekend tournament was just three smaller bass.
PYRAMID: Very light fishing pressure over the past week. There was a 2,000-pound DFG trout plant last Friday and the action on the rainbows has been good near the launch ramp on PowerBait and small trout lures. The plant also brought up a few bigger stripers, but most of the striper action has been in deep water with the stripers, like the largemouth bass, shadowing the shad schools in deep water. The catfish action has slowed, but some fish were showing in deep water on cut baits.
SAN ANTONIO: The action has continued slow with the weather this past week. The stripers are still keying on shad, and trollers are getting fish working shad schools. The fish are mostly 8-12 pounds and smaller. Catfish, largemouth action slow.
SANTA MARGARITA: Most species slow with the cold weather. A few bass showing on dark plastics in deeper water. Other species very slow.
KERN: Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area.
TULARE: Kaweah Reservoir.
LONG RANGE YELLOWFIN EXCELLENT: The long range fleet faced tough weather conditions much of the last week on the giant tuna grounds off the tip of Baja with relentless windy weather, but the fishing was still exceptional. The Royal Polaris finished up its most recent trip with 20 fish over 200 pounds and the big fish was a 293-pounder. The Intrepid reported a steady pick on yellowfin Tuesday with a flurry of cows in the evening, and the best was in the 250-pound class. Tops for this fleet this past week was a 310-pounder.
GIANT SQUID BITE UPDATE: Windy weather also hampered the twilight boats running for Humboldt squid off the San Diego and Oceanside region this past week. On good weather evenings, the anglers were landing from 500 to 800 of the giant squid, most running from 5-8 pounds with some up into the 30-pound class. On tough weather evenings, the catch would drop to 50 to 100 squid. Virtually all of the landings, including those in Orange and Los Angeles counties, are now running twilight trips for the squid, and the warming weather conditions are setting up this weekend to be excellent for these winter exotics.
OTHER NEARSHORE BITES: There has been virtually no pressure on other species off the coast this past week. The ready availability of market or bait-size squid off the Orange and Los Angeles coast has made the candy easy to get, but aside from a few sculpin and a little pick on sand bass and calico bass, the bite is slow. There has been a bit of a pick on halibut inside the bays, but this is just a little early for that bite to be starting in earnest. Up in the Channel Islands, it's all whale-watching or sand dabs (which are excellent, by the way).
LOBSTER UPDATE: The lobster season is winding down and the rough weather hasn't been helping this action either. Most of the boats have been reporting about a half-lobster per angler on most nights.