Fish report: Catfish biting in California Aqueduct and at Buena Vista
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 email@example.com.
The fish report is copyrighted and any use or reposting of the report, or portions of the report, is prohibited without written permission.
Anglers can continue to expect restrictions at certain city, county, and state facilities. If at all possible, anglers should call ahead to make sure waters are open.
Most waters remain open to fishing, parking, and boat launching but many places still have restrictions on hours and rules on social distancing and use of masks. Most recreational accommodations (campgrounds, motels, and restaurants) have also reopened for anglers who travel to Eastern Sierra, Colorado River, or other areas to fish.
With few other recreational activities available, open waters are mobbed with anglers and recreational users, and many facilities close to boat launching on weekends because maximum lake quotas are filled by early morning.
JIM MATTHEWS'S PICKS OF THE WEEK
1. The Kern River trout bite remains excellent and this spot just continues to be the top spot in the region. Many anglers are still reporting, and while the DFW has not reported plants here since mid-July most anglers believe they are still being planted each week because the bite is so good. Most of the fish are pan-sized and showing in sections 4, 5, and 6 above Kernville, but there are lots of holdover fish throughout the 20-miles stretch above Kernville. The action has been best on salmon eggs, small spinners, and MiceTails bounced on the bottom. For an update on this action, check with Bob's Bait Bucket at 661-833-8657, Cope's Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351, or Gateway Market in Kernville at 760-376-2424.
2. The entire California Aqueduct remains in the top picks, but especially the Antelope Valley stretch, which has just been on fire for both stripers and catfish. The fish in the Palmdale region are keying on shad, and anglers dipping the shad are hammering the fish. The next best bait has been the chicken liver-nightcrawler combo. Shad-like artificials are not near as good. Most of the action is pre-dawn and at night. The day bite is much tougher. For an update on this action, check with Bob's Bait Bucket in Bakersfield at 661-833-8657 for the San Joaquin stretch, and Amaysing Fishing in Palmdale for the Antelope Valley at 661-429-5824.
3. While not normally in the fishing report, Diaz Lake near Lone Pine on Highway 395 has been cranking out the crappie in an excellent bite on small jigs alone or tipped with bait. There have been a number of nice 25-fish limits reported in the past week. The fish are around the shoreline tules and the best bite is early and late from shore, float tube or boat. For an update on this bite, check with Amaysing Fishing in Palmdale for the Antelope Valley at 661-429-5824.
LAKE ISABELLA: Continued good catfish action with the best bite at night on fish from two to five pounds with some fish up into the double digits. The cats are showing mostly on frozen shad, clams, other cut baits, and a variety of stink baits with Triple S the most popular. The crappie bite has slowed to near-nothing, but just the odd fish still showing from deep water off Rocky Point and Camp 9 on live minnows. Fair bite on largemouth bass with the fish still in deeper water during the day and moving up early and late. Best bite has been on plastics, jigs, spinnerbaits, topwater, and swimbaits. Trout have slowed down with only a few fish showing in deep water for trollers working the dam areas. Carp fishing is also fair on any of the shallow flats on dough baits early in the morning. The warning to avoid contact with algae blooms is ongoing. The warning was issued early this summer by the Kern County Public Health Department. Anglers and dog owners should exercise cautions to avoid contact or ingesting water in posted areas. Fishing is allowed, but anglers should take precautions. (Here is the direct link to the website explaining the problem and precautions: https://kernpublichealth.com/cyanobacteria-blooms-blue-green-algae/). The lake surface elevation was 2,549.39 feet on Thursday this week, down 1.12 feet from last week. The lake is at 20 percent capacity. 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: Trout action continues pretty good. While the DFW is not reporting any plants this week and has not since mid-July, the action is suggesting that plants continue to go in. Many anglers are still reporting limits throughout the upper river on Panther Martins, Blue Fox spinners, salmon eggs, and nightcrawlers. Fly-fishing action is fair to good on the upper river from Kernville up to the Johnsondale Bridge and above with some dry-fly action most evenings. In the lower river, there is pretty fair smallmouth bass action, and some catfish and carp are showing. The flows are very low in both the upper and lower river. The upper river at Kernville was at 197 cfs on Thursday this week. In the lower river, the flow was 446 cfs. Information: Kern River Fly Shop 760-376-2040 or (www.kernriverflyfishing.com) or Gateway Market 760-376-2424.
AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: The catfish bite has been the best bet with good action, especially at night or early and late in the day. The Triple S Bait has been best, but the cats are showing on a wide variety of cut baits and dough baits. Stripers only fair with bait and moss making lure fishing difficult. A few fish are showing on jerk baits or other artificial baits, but most of the action is on blood worms, lug worms, sand worms, and sardines. Carp are fair to good on dough baits, especially Wussy Bait. Some largemouth showing around the weeds on Senko-type 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: The best action has been for bluegill with a fair to good bite early and late in the day on red worms and meal worms. The carp bite is fair on dough baits. A few catfish and bass are also showing, but that bite is tougher.
RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: The bluegill are fair to good on red worms, meal worms, or wax worms. Carp are fair on dough baits. The bass action is slow to fair on plastics, Flukes, and Brush Hawg-type lures early and late in the day. Some catfish also showing early and late in the day on cut baits. Information Bob's Bait 661-833-8657.
HART PARK LAKE: The bluegill bite is good on wax worms, red worms, or meal worms. Carp are fish on homemade dough baits, Triple S, or Wussy Bait. The bass action is fair on plastics, Senko-type baits, and topwater, mostly early and late in the day around heavy cover.
TRUXTUN LAKE: The bluegill action is good on wax worms, meal worms, or red worms, especially near lily pads and other cover. The carp bite is also good on dough baits, especially Wussy Bait, and a few more catfish are showing. Bass are tough, but some are showing on drop-shot plastics, Creature baits, and topwater early and late in the day.
MING LAKE: Continued good bluegill and fair carp action early and late in the day. The bluegill are showing on wax worms or meal worms, and while the carp are best on Wussy Bait or homemade dough baits. The bass action is fair early and late in the day on plastic worms, Senkos, Brush Hawgs, and live minnows. A few catfish are also being landed on cut baits or dough baits.
BRITE LAKE: Still a slow to fair trout bite, even though there has not been a reported trout plant since early June. The best action is in the deep water at mid-lake on small jigs and PowerBait. Also a decent crappie bite on jigs tipped with meal worms or Crappie Nibbles, especially black and yellow jigs, with some float tube anglers reported hefty stringers. Also a few bass, bluegill, and catfish.
BUENA VISTA LAKES: Heat has made morning and evening the best times to fish. The best action has been on small catfish, while the carp, crappie, and bluegill bites are fair. There is also a decent early morning or evening bass bite for anglers fishing the tules. The catfish have been best on dip baits or sardines, while the carp are showing on dough baits, especially Triple S. The bluegill and crappie are along most brushy, grassy shoreline and hitting meal worms and red worms, either on jigs or not. A few bass early in the morning on nightcrawlers or topwater fished near cover with some frog action in the tules. 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: As the water continues to fall, the fishing is pretty slow. Overall, the cats are still fair on cutbaits and blood worms. A few bass are showing on topwater and reaction baits early and late in the day, on dropshot plastics after the topwater flurry. A few bluegill are still fair on meal worms or red worms. Other species have slowed way down. The lake elevation was 592.80 feet on Thursday this week, down another 3.21 feet from last week. The lake is at 10 percent capacity. Information: Cope's Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or www.tackleandrod.com.
KAWEAH LAKE: Water level continues to plummet and fishing remains extremely difficult with only a few suspended largemouth bass showing on reaction baits early and jigging spoons or plastics in deep water. A few catfish continue to show, but the other bites are really slow. Very few bluegill, catfish, or crappie reported in recent days. The lake elevation was 590.90 feet on Thursday this week, down 2.70 feet from last week. The lake is now 8 percent capacity. The lake level has fallen over 90 vertical feet in the past six weeks. To reserve a rental boat, call the marina at 559-597-2526. Additional fishing information: Sierra Sporting Goods at 559-592-5212.
HIGH DESERT WATERS
HESPERIA LAKE: Fair to good catfish action with only a few five-fish limits reported. Most of the cats are from 1 Ω to 2 Ω pounds, and many stringers have two to four fish that size. Plants are every week this month. 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: No report. For an update, call 760-240-1107 or go to www.jessranchlakesnews.com. The site also has COVID-19 protocols.
MOJAVE NARROWS: The catfish bite is good with plants every Thursday. Weekly plants continue through Sept. 3. Plants are 740 pounds per week. Limits have not been uncommon. The action is best on a variety of cut baits, nightcrawlers, and dough baits. There is also a good bite on carp and small bluegill. 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 continues to be a great place to catch fish. There is very good action on small bluegill, warmouth, and even small catfish. Carp are very good but most are small with a few bigger carp showing on bigger dough baits the little guys can't eat. The carp can range from six-inches long up to four or five pounds. The bluegill and warmouth are mostly less than six-inches long, but the bite is excellent on meal worms, red worms, or nightcrawler pieces fished under a bobber close to shore or any structure. There have also been quite a few small catfish to 12 or 13 inches reported. For more information on plants and events, contact Apollo Park at 661-940-7701 or Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.
LAKE PALMDALE: Catfish are very good and there is a window early and late in the day when the topwater bass bite is hot. The catfish are best on stink baits fished in sponge rigs, dough baits, or cut baits, especially sardines or chicken liver fished in combo with nightcrawlers. Docks 25 and 26 have been hot spots and fish to 19 pounds have been reported in the past week. The weeds are pretty thick, so flying the baits has been the best bet so the bait settles on the top layer of the weeds where the catfish can root it out. The largemouth bass are fair and showing early and late in the day all around lake and at all the docks and aggressively chasing baitfish. Spinnerbaits and chatter baits with the skirts doused with scent and nightcrawlers or plastics have been the best baits fishing over the tops of the weeds. The bluegill bite is fair to good off any of the docks on fly-lined nightcrawlers with a lot of hand-sized and bigger fish. Lots off the rocks. Pretty good carp action for those targeting the carp with dough baits. For more information on membership, call 661-947-2884 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The club's Facebook page is the best source for the latest fishing and news updates.
QUAIL LAKE: Good action continues here, and the crowds remain. The parking lot has been full on weekends, especially early and late in the day and at night. The bite has been very good on both stripers and catfish, with a lot of bluegill and largemouth showing for anglers targeting them. Top baits have been the chicken liver-nightcrawler combo, frozen shad, or lug worms for both stripers and catfish. Stripers are also boiling so topwater is also working. They are running up to eight pounds or better, but most are still two to four pounds. The catfish are mostly three to six pounds. The bluegill have been best on nightcrawler pieces along the south shore. The largemouth bass are also showing on topwater, but spinnerbaits and jigs fished in and along the tules have been the best baits. The bluegill are hot with nightcrawlers fished under floats. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.
CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT (Hesperia to Quail Lake stretch): When you find big schools of shad, the fishing will be good. Both the stripers and catfish are keying on the shad and the bite has been almost exclusively on dipped fresh shad or the chicken liver-nightcrawler combo. Find the shad fish are biting. Most three to five pounds of both species, but catfish to 17 pounds were reported. The best catfish action has been at dusk and after in the evenings. The stripers have been best the two hours right before dawn. Top spots continue to be the weirs, bridges, and bends. But those are the best places to fish for all species. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.
CENTRAL PARK LAKE (CALIFORNIA CITY): The bluegill bite is very good, and a few bass are showing on chartreuse spinnerbaits. The carp are also still pretty good on dough baits. The bluegill are small but the action on nightcrawler pieces fly-lined or fished under a bobber is wide open. The carp bite are best on dough baits. Most or small fish under three pounds, but they are showing in good numbers.
LITTLE ROCK RESERVOIR: The action has been good with anglers reporting mixed catches of bass, catfish, and bluegill. Nightcrawlers have been getting all three species. The bass are running up to four-plus pounds, and a five-pound catfish was reported. Most of the bluegill are hand-sized. The U.S. Forest Service's dam area closure has been lifted, but the area beyond the entrance gate remains closed to motorized recreation. No cars, no motorcycles, no OHV of any sort are allowed past the gate. This means only walk-in anglers can fish the lake, but anglers not parking legally below the dam will be cited. The roadway may not be blocked at all and parking can only take place in pullouts, not shoulders. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.
JACKSON LAKE (NEAR WRIGHTWOOD): Continued fair to good action on small goldfish and bluegill. Best action has been mornings and evenings on meal worms, red worms, or wax worms for the bluegill. The goldfish have been best on small dough baits. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.
SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAIN WATERS
SILVERWOOD: Fair to good action for stripers with a number of limits reported in the past week, and the fish are showing around much of the lake. Most of the action is on sardines, anchovies, or chicken liver-nightcrawler combo for bait anglers. Trolled umbrella rigs or shad-like spoons and lures fished in deeper water in the main channel are also producing. The fish are running up to six pounds, but most two to three. The catfish bite is also pretty fair on the same baits in Miller Canyon and at the dam. Sang Dawg, Corona, landed a 23-pound catfish on the anchovy-marshmallow combo in Miller Canyon. Bluegill are fair to good, also in Miller Canyon and the coves off the main channel, on meal worms or wax worms. A few largemouth bass are showing in Cleghorn and off points in the main channel, mostly on plastics with some jerkbait fish early. Trout have been very slow. Lake elevation was 3,347.71 feet on Thursday this week, up 2.73 feet from last 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 trout action has been mostly slow, but the evening catfish bite and the largemouth bass bite has been fair. For trout, only a few fish showing for troll anglers fishing the Trout Triangle, but some of the fish being caught are nice quality rainbows in the two-pound class. Only a handful of trout have been reported by shore anglers, mostly from deeper water off the north shore from the dam to Grout Bay. The best action has been on PowerBait, inflated nightcrawlers with garlic scent fish with a water-filled fishing float that sinks slowly and settles on top of the weed beds so the floating baits stay visible to the fish. The bass bite is fair on topwater baits most mornings and evenings. Nightcrawlers and plastics are also good bets, with some smallmouth in this bite. Catfish are best evenings and at night and most anglers are reporting using hotdogs. 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: Dead slow fishing. Only two plants in June, both 300 pounds and nothing since. The park is open to fishing and hiking, and the parking lots are open. The restroom facilities and group recreation areas remain closed. 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: The lake is open. No reported plants since June 11, when both DFW and Mt. Lassen rainbows were planted. No reports. The website at www.gvlfishing.com has stocking updates, and the Facebook page is Green Valley Lake Fishing.
INTERSTATE 5 LAKES
CASTAIC: The main lake and afterbay remain temporarily closed due to the Lake Fire burning due north of the lake. It is being used as a base for fire-fighters. Before the closure, there was a good trout and bluegill bite. The bluegill action has been excellent in both the lower and upper lakes with a lot of hand-sized fish and some up to and better than a pound. Most of the fish are showing on nightcrawlers, red worms, or wax worms fly-lined, fished drop-shot style, or suspended under a bobber around structure. Early and late in the day is best. The trout action has continued fair to good with a few limits reported on PowerBait or garlic nightcrawlers for still fishermen. Trollers are also getting fishing on small spoons or shad-like flies. The best action is still at the West Ramp, but the fish have spread throughout the lake. Most recent plant was June 25 when the lake was planted with 9,400 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows by the Department of Water Resources. Stripers have been tougher, but surface boils have been increasing, but most of the activity has been very early in the morning or at dusk. Finding fish up and hurling shad-line lures has been a good bet. At other times, the fish are deep and some are showing on trolled umbrella rigs or jigging spoons. The largemouth and smallmouth action has been pretty good, especially if you can dip-net some live shad, but fish are also showing on drop-shot plastics around cover. Also some topwater early and late in the day. Most of the fish are in the one to two-pound class. Catfish fair on garlic nightcrawlers fished with mackerel. The lake's surface elevation was 1,502.48 feet on Thursday this week, down 1.59 feet from last week. The lake is at 91 percent full pool. For information call the marina at 661-775-6232 (www.CastaicLake.com) or Tackle Express at 661-251-8700.
PYRAMID: The striped bass are boiling most mornings and evenings in the marina and around Chumash Island and in the channel by the entrance gate. Some boils sporadically during the day. There is a decent topwater or jerkbait bite when the fish are on the surface. Shore and bait anglers continue to get stripers early and late in the day in the canal up from the boat entrance when the water is flowing. Bait anglers are scoring best on lug worms, nightcrawlers, and cut baits. Trollers are getting fish on umbrella rigs in 20 to 30 feet of water. The largemouth and smallmouth bass are both pretty good and showing on split-shot nightcrawlers, plastics, and topwater early and late in the day when the fish are up in grass and weeds on or near the surface early and late in the day. Most of the fish are focused on shad, so shad sizes and colors are best. The trout bite has died with none reported in the past week. The bluegill bite is good on nightcrawlers with a lot of hand-sized fish or bigger along most shorelines with any cover. There is also a fair to good catfish bite around the docks, but fish are showing from deep water all over the lake on sardines, anchovies, nightcrawlers, and dip baits in deeper coves. The lake elevation was 2,575.17 feet on Thursday this week, down .68 feet from last week. The lake is at 92 percent of full pool. 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 call: Emigrant Landing entrance booth at 661-295-7155, the boat shop at 661-294-9403, or Tackle Express at 661-251-8700.
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.
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).
The Department of Fish and Wildlife is again posting its trout plants again on its website at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants/.
For the week of August 23-29, the following waters will be planted. They are listed by county.
Inyo: Lower Bishop Creek, Lone Pine Creek, and the Owens River below Tinnemaha and in Section 2. All of these waters were also planted last week, but no other waters in the county have received fish.
Mono: Grant Lake, Gull Lake, June Lake, Owens River in section 3, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes in Bridgeport.
Kern-Tulare: According to the DFW website, there have been no plants since mid-July. But other reports say Section 4, 5, and 6 continue to be planted every week.
There will be few plants in Southern California until at least late fall or winter because of a bacterial outbreak at Mojave Narrows Fish Hatchery, Black Rock Hatchery, and Fish Springs Hatchery. The DFW has decided to destroy the 3.2 million trout at these three facilities to prevent the spread of the bacteria. The loss will impact trout plants in Southern California and the Eastern Sierra well into 2021.
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 email@example.com and the information will be included in the weekly report. If you have questions or comments, please call Matthews at 909-887-3444.