Aqueduct giving up a lot of stripers, too

     The fish report is weekly. Its accuracy depends on marina operators, tackle shops, and local fishermen we contact. Anglers catching large fish should send the information to Outdoor News Service, P.O. Box 9007, San Bernardino, CA 92427, or telephone 909-887-3444, so it can be included in this report. E-Mail messages or fishing reports can also be posted to Jim Matthews at odwriter@verizon.net.

     The fish report is copyrighted and any use or reposting of the report, or portions of the report, is prohibited without written permission.

COVID-19 UPDATES

     Lake Palmdale (Palmdale Fin and Feather Club) was shut down by the Los Angeles County Health Department this past week on Friday with this terse note: 

     “Your business, including fishing, has been deemed a non-essential business and must also close…. The current order, if not extended, ends on May 15, 2020, when your safe operating practices can be utilized.”

     The Fin and Feather Club management posted this note on Facebook along with the closure order: “Please know that the employees and Board of Directors are doing everything they can to open as soon as we can.”

     Diamond Valley Reservoir marina and the east launch ramp at Big Bear Lake were both scheduled to reopen Friday (May 1) with restrictions.

     At Big Bear, the ramp is limited to just 25 boats because that is the capacity of the parking lot. At Diamond Valley, there are a number of restrictions that must be followed, and only cash will be taken at the entrance kiosk.

     The weekly fishing report has updates each week on the latest closures/restrictions/reopenings on local fishing waters. With social distancing, fishing is a healthy alternative to staying cooped up in a stuffy home.

     Fishing reports and photos of catch reports from readers are especially helpful during this time of closures when most marinas and stores – our usual sources of information – are closed. Information should be sent to Jim Matthews at odwriter@verizon.net or call 909-887-3444.



JIM MATTHEWS’S PICKS OF THE WEEK

     1. The Colorado River, while not in the weekly reports, has broken wide open for all species in the past week during the heat (100-plus degrees along the river), and most of the camping facilities are open. The flathead catfish bite has been wide open on big fish from the Palo Verde Diversion Dam (just north of Blythe) all the way to Yuma with a lot of quality fish from 20 to 40 pounds reported, mostly on live bluegill or goldfish. The best in the past week was a 51-pounder. But the bass and bluegill bites are also excellent, especially in the backwaters and canals in the Blythe-Palo Verde region. For an update on this bite, check with B&B Bait in Blythe at 760-921-2248.

2. Lake Isabella staying in the top picks for its generally good action, but especially the crappie and trout (but also the catfish) The crappie remain good on small minnows in the South Form arm of the lake and fish are up into the two-plus pound range. Trout are up to three pounds and showing on trolled spoons or still-fished PowerBait in both the south fork and north fork arms. All the pen-reared fish for the May Trout Classic (which has been cancelled) were released this week. For an update on this action, call Bob’s Bait Bucket at 661-833-8657.

     3. The California Aqueduct, both in the southern San Joaquin Valley near Taft and in the Antelope Valley, keeps getting better and better and stays in the top picks. In the Taft region, there are a ton of small stripers being landed, but enough fish over the 18-inch minimum size to keep anglers happy. Best bite on sardines, blood worms, and jerk baits. In the Antelope Valley stretch, the catfish and striper bites are good. Catfish have been best on sardines or shad with scent, while the stripers are best on Rat-L-Traps and Zara Spooks (or similar lures). For updates on this bite, check with Bob’s Bait Bucket in the San Joaquin at 661-833-8657 or Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824 for the Antelope Valley.

WESTERN SIERRA

     CLOSURE UPDATES: Kern County and city parks remain open but anglers should follow distancing guidelines. Some parking areas may be closed.

     LAKE ISABELLA: The big news is that all the trout being raised in lake pens for the cancelled May Trout Classic have been released and the trout fishing has been very good. Part of that is the big infusion of trout, and part of that is the crowds which are finally targeting the rainbows. The rainbows are already spread around much of the lake, but the fish have seemed to aggregate in both the south fork and north fork arms of the lake. Trolling small, shad-like lures or still-fishing PowerBait has been the best option, although some crappie anglers fishing small jigs are also getting the odd rainbow. Fish to three pounds reported. The crappie bite is fair to good with both shore and boat anglers getting fish, primarily on small live minnows. Most of the fish are around a pound, but some over two pounds. The South Fork Arm has been best, but there are also fish showing at Camp 9 and around Red’s Marina. The catfish bite is also good, mostly on frozen shad, other cut baits, and a variety of stink baits. The fish are running from two to six pounds with some bigger. There is also still a fair bite on largemouth bass with the fish mostly in the shallows now for the spawn. Best bite has been on plastics, jigs, and swimbaits. Anglers going here need to be self-contained with no camping or restroom facilities open. There are two boat ramps open, one in the South Fork at Red’s Marina and the ramp in the North Fork is open. Beach launching for small boats is also available in Kissack Cove. The lake surface elevation was 2,563.92 feet on Wednesday, up .57 feet from last week. The lake is at 34 percent capacity and very stable right now. Information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or www.bobsbaitbucket.com, North Fork Marina at 760-376-1812, or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com.

     KERN RIVER: The DFW is still not posting stocking information, but anglers verified the upper river was planted two Friday’s ago. The bite has been fair to good with a lot holdover fish along with the new plants. Panther Martins, Blue Fox spinners, salmon eggs, and nightcrawlers have been the top baits. Fly-fishing action fair and improving on the upper river from Kernville up to the Johnsondale Bridge and above, and there is increasing dry fly activity. Some bass showing in the lower river and fishing flows remain excellent, however they are coming up. Upper river flows were 910 cfs on Wednesday, and they were 678 cfs in the lower river. Anglers need to know that few stores in Kernville are open and there are no open campgrounds or motels. Information: Kern River Fly Shop 760-376-2040 or (www.kernriverflyfishing.com) or Gateway Market 760-376-2424.

     AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: The striper action has remained good with a ton of small fish from eight to 10 inches and a fair to good number of keepers over the 18-inch minimum size, including a number of fish from 12 to 25 pounds. The fish are showing on jerk baits, blood worms, lug worms, sand worms, and sardines. The catfish bite has improved on mackerel and other cut baits and paste baits. Anglers are reminded the limit on stripers is two fish greater than 18 inches, while the largemouth limit is five fish. Information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or www.bobsbaitbucket.com or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com. 

     MILL CREEK PARK AND CANAL: Open. The carp bite is fair to good on dough baits and improving with each warm day. A few catfish continue to show for anglers fishing nightcrawlers.

     RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: Open. The bass action is pretty good and the bass remain all over the shallows. Plastics and Flukes are the best bets. Lots of fish still on beds. The bluegill bite has also taken off with good action on wax worms or other small baits. Very few trout reported. Last plant over a month ago. Information Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657.

     HART PARK LAKE: Open. Continued good bass and bluegill action. The bass remain in the shallows with many still on beds. The best action has been on plastic worms and Brush Hawgs. The bluegill bite is best on wax worms and meal worms. Carp are also pretty good now on dough baits or Wussy Bait.

     TRUXTUN LAKE: Open. The bass action is good with the fish still on beds and cruising the shallows. Plastic worms and Senko-type baits are the best bets, but nightcrawlers are also good. The bluegill action now very good on wax worms, meal worms, or red worms. The carp bite is also pretty good on dough baits, especially Wussy Bait, and a few more catfish are showing.

     MING LAKE: Open. The bass action is good with the fish still shallow and many on beds. Plastic worms, Senkos, Brush Hawgs, and live minnows have been the top baits. The bluegill and carp bite are also good. The bluegill are showing on wax worms or meal worms, and while the carp are best on Wussy Bait or homemade dough baits.

     BRITE LAKE: Closed last week. Tournaments have been cancelled. No news on DFW plants.

     BUENA VISTA LAKES: This park remains open to fishing. The bass remain good with most in the shallows for the spawn. Plastics and Senkos along the tules have been the best baits. The crappie are fair on fish to a pound or so showing on live minnows and small jigs. Only a few catfish or trout reported. Fishing information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or www.bobsbaitbucket.com; Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com; or the park entrance gate at 661-763-1526.

     WOOLLOMES LAKE: No reports.

     SUCCESS LAKE: Marinas, launch ramps, and parking lots are closed, making fishing access difficult, but the lake is still technically open to fishing. Few reports again this week, but the bass bite has been good on plastics and reaction baits for the anglers walking in. The lake elevation as of Wednesday this week was 623.65 feet, up 3.05 feet from last week. The lake is at 40 percent of capacity. Information: Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com.

     KAWEAH LAKE: Marinas, launch ramps, and parking lots are closed. The lake is technically still open to shore fishing but access is difficult. Few fishing reports, but there have been some largemouth bass reports on plastics. No other reports. Lake elevation as of Wednesday this week was 647.15 feet, up 7.15 feet from last week. The lake is at 36 percent of capacity. Information: Sierra Sporting Goods at 559-592-5212.

HIGH DESERT WATERS

VICTORVILLE REGION

     HESPERIA LAKE: The park is scheduled to reopen to fishing-only on Friday (May 1) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Fishing is limited to 200 anglers at a time and they all must have a wrist band, and only two customers at a time will be allowed in the store. No fishing reports, but the last trout plant was Thursday, March 5. The first catfish plant of the season will go in Thursday, May 7. For more information go to the park’s website at https://www.hesperiaparks.com/hesperia-lake-park or Hesperia Lake’s Facebook or Instagram pages. For updates, you can also call the park at 800-521-6332 or 760-244-5951.

     JESS RANCH LAKES: As of Thursday this week, no reopening date has been set for this facility. Anglers can call (760)240-1107 or go to www.jessranchlakesnews.com for updates.

     MOJAVE NARROWS: The park reopened this past Saturday to fishing and hiking only. The trout bite has been fair to good with plants continuing while the park was closed. Best action has been on PowerBait and small trout jigs. The bass and bluegill bites are also pretty good, but they are getting little pressure. The carp bite is also good with some fish over six pounds reported. Everyone is asked to continue to wear face masks and practice social distancing in line with Coronavirus safety precautions. The lake is closed Tuesday and Wednesday each week. Information, call 760-245-2226.

HIGH DESERT WATERS

ANTELOPE VALLEY REGION

     APOLLO PARK LAKE: This park remians open to the public, and the warm weather has really turned on the carp bite with a lot of fish to four or five pounds showing on dough baits. The bite on small panfish (warmouth mostly) has also taken off on nightcrawler pieces or wax worms, and a few trout are still being landed on PowerBait. For more information on plants and events, contact Apollo Park at 661-940-7701 or Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

     JACKSON LAKE (NEAR WRIGHTWOOD): Open to fishing, but no fishing reports. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

     LAKE PALMDALE: The lake was unexpectedly closed to fishing again on Friday, April 24, by order of Los Angeles County health department. The current order is through May 15. Fishing had been excellent for trout with good bass, bluegill, and catfish action, too. For more information on reopening or membership, call 661-947-2884 or go to e-mail palmdalefinandfeatherclub@gmail.com.

     QUAIL LAKE: Fishing has been shut down as security staff and the California Highway Patrol are enforcing all access closures, however, no one has been cited. The parking is closed and anglers who have been walking in are being threatened with trespass citations. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

     CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT (Hesperia to Quail Lake stretch): Slow flows this week, but the action on both stripers and catfish remains pretty good. The bite is best at flow changes at curves, bridge crossings, sand traps, and siphons the best. For stripers, the best action has been on Zara Spooks and Rat-L-Traps in silver and black, silver and blue, or baby bass colors. The catfish is best on frozen shad or other cut baits with a lot of quality fish from five to 15 pounds. Fish to six pounds common. There has also been a pretty decent largemouth bass bite for anglers throwing topwater baits over the tops of moss and weed beds where the bass are spawning, especially Jerkit baits in smoke. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

     CENTRAL PARK LAKE (CALIFORNIA CITY): Open. The bluegill and carp bites are improving with the warm weather. The bluegill are small, hand-sized fish on nightcrawlers. The carp are also small and showing on dough baits. No bass or catfish reports.

     LITTLE ROCK RESERVOIR: Very good fishing on bass for walk-in anglers. Most of the action on nightcrawlers up to five pounds. Lake is full with water running over the spillway. Also some action on bluegill and trout. Palmdale Water District has an ongoing sediment removal project and access is restricted at times. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAIN WATERS

    SILVERWOOD: The state parks closure to all vehicle traffic and parking is still in effect. Walk-in and bicycle-in use is still allowed, but anglers are cautioned to make sure they are parking in legal areas. Many tickets are being written when anglers or hikers park in closed areas on road shoulder and pullouts where a parked car is still in traffic lanes or it is a no-parking area. A few fishing reports continue to come in, and overall the action is still fair to good for both stripers and trout, and the largemouth bass action is really starting to take off. Even a few catfish and bluegill reported now. Shore anglers are getting trout in both Miller and Cleghorn canyons on PowerBait, MiceTails, and small trout lures, mostly trout jigs. The stripers reported in the past week have been from the marina rip-rap and the coves below Highway 138 toward the dam, and along Forest Road 2N33 adjacent to the dam. The best action has been on sardines or nightcrawlers with scent. The largemouth are showing on plastics off the points with the fish moving up into less than 10 feet of water. Please e-mail your fishing reports and photos to Jim Matthews at odwriter@verizon.net. No lake elevation data available this week. Anglers should be aware of health advisories for the consumption of fish from this lake because of high PCB and mercury levels in the fish flesh and skin. Here’s the direct link to a PDF brochure explaining consumption recommendations: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/fish/so_cal/pdf_zip/081013KioskadvySilverwood.pdf. Dock fishing is allowed for $3 for adults, $2 for kids and seniors. Private boats must be inspected for zebra and quagga mussels. Boats with wet lower units will be turned away. Boats inspected and tagged at Diamond Valley and Perris will be allowed at Silverwood. The park is open seven days a week. Information: marina 760-389-2299, state park 760-389-2281, Silverwood Country store 760-389-2423. 

     BIG BEAR LAKE: The east public launch ramp will open Friday, but the lot is limited to 25 vehicles/trailers. Shore fishing remains open. The trout bite remains fair with nice quality fish from 1-8 to two pounds. Catches of one to four fish for a morning or afternoon of fishing continue to be common. The best action has been at the dam and all along the north shoreline on PowerBait, inflated nightcrawlers with garlic scent, MiceTails, and small spoons. The bass bite is still mostly tough, but a few largemouth and smallmouth are being caught each week. For information on fishing, call Big Bear Sporting Goods at 909-866-3222 or visit the store’s Facebook page. There have been nearly daily fishing reports posted on the Big Bear Lake Fishing Facebook group page.

     GREGORY LAKE: The park reopened to fishing and hiking this past Saturday, with the parking lots open again. The restroom facilities and group recreation areas remain closed. No fishing reports. Information at 909-338-2233 or on the website at lakegregoryrecreation.com/fish. Fishing updates are posted infrequently on the park’s Facebook page or website.

     GREEN VALLEY LAKE: No fishing reports. The opening of the lake’s facilities and all trout stocking has been postponed until later in the year, depending on the Coronavirus outbreak status. All facilities remain closed, including restrooms and boat/tackle shop, and will remain closed until the state lifts its closure of “non-essential businesses.” Updates are posted on the website at www.gvlfishing.com and the Facebook page is Green Valley Lake Fishing.

INTERSTATE 5 LAKES

     CASTAIC: Open. The lake is open for boating and shoreline fishing as long as social distancing is maintained, according to LA County Parks (as of Thursday this week). Winds have closed the lake to boats late this week, however. Walking, running, biking, on the swim beach walking paths is permitted. The hiking trails, playgrounds, and fishing pier are closed. Overall, fishing has been fair. Shore anglers are getting a good numbers of stripers and smallmouth bass adjacent to the west launch ramp. Cut sardines for the stripers, and drop-shot nightcrawlers for the smallmouth. Boat anglers are seeing a good bite in deep water with bait for the stripers, with some on trolled umbrella rigs. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are both good on plastics with the fish moving shallow for the spawn. A fair number of trout are showing around the main launch ramp and out to the point on PowerBait, small jigs, or Mice Tail-type baits, but this bite has slowed. The bluegill are moving shallow, and while the fishing piers are closed, the ‘gills were congregating in those areas. The lake’s surface elevation was 1,501.98 feet on Thursday this week, down .46 feet from last week. The lake is at 91 percent of full pool. For information call the marina at 661-775-6232 (www.CastaicLake.com) or Tackle Express at 661-251-8700. 

     PYRAMID: The lake is still closed to all vehicle access and public use. No tentative open date has been set. Technically, because it is a developed facility on U.S. Forest Service land, it is closed to the public under a Forest Service order, which was extended this week to May 15. There is a health warning about eating fish from Pyramid Lake (except the rainbow trout). More information at this link: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/fish/so_cal/pyramidlake2013.html. For updates on closures and restrictions, anglers can try to call: Emigrant Landing entrance booth at 661-295-7155, the boat shop at 661-294-9403, or Tackle Express at 661-251-8700.

COLORADO RIVER

     ARIZONA FISHING REPORTS: The Arizona Game and Fish Department compiles a weekly report for most waters in the state, including the Colorado Rivers. Anglers can read the report at this direct link: http://azgfd.net/artman/publish/FishingReport/.

     FLOW INFORMATION: Reservoir elevation levels and flow releases for the entire lower Colorado River are available at this web site with information updated hourly: www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/hourly/rivops.html.

EASTERN SIERRA

     The general trout season opener has been postponed until June 1 in Inyo, Mono, and Alpine counties by the Department of Fish and Wildlife in consultation with the Fish and Game Commission. The decision was made Tuesday. Waters currently open will remain open, but waters where harvest is allowed, the limit has been reduced to two fish per day from five trout. All zero-limit catch-and-release waters will remain open in all three counties, and all lower-elevation, year-around and “early” trout opener waters (which opens March 1) will also remain open, but with reduced bag limits.

     The delay does not include any other counties in the state, and no other fishing seasons have been delayed or closed.

     Top Eastern Sierra fishing report web sites are: www.KensSport.com (Bridgeport region), www.TheTroutFly.com (Mammoth Lakes region), and www.SierraDrifters.com (Bishop and Mammoth Lakes region).

TROUT PLANTS

     The Department of Fish and Wildlife has continued not to post the trout planting schedule on its website “in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 by preventing public crowding at water bodies. 

“Fishing is still open and CDFW will continue stocking trout at locations where social distancing by anglers and physical distancing of Hatchery Staff can be maintained.

“All Fishing in the City stocking events have been canceled through April 30th.

“We ask that members of the public avoid interacting with Hatchery Staff while fish are being stocked, and to please continue to implement social distancing.

And don’t try to call the local DFW office’s to find what waters will be planted: “Local CDFW offices will not have access to the Fish Plant Schedule.”

Normally, statewide trout plants are available at the DFW’s stocking page at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants/.

OCEAN FISHING REPORT

     For the most comprehensive and up-to-date ocean fishing available, go to www.976-TUNA.com.

YOUR FISHING REPORTS

     Please feel free to send your freshwater or saltwater fishing reports and fishing photos to Jim Matthews, Outdoor News Service, at odwriter@verizon.net and the information will be included in the weekly report. If you have questions or comments, please call Matthews at 909-887-3444.