Big Trout Campout on deck April 27-28
BY MIKE STEVENS
HEMET— Winter trout fishing has been very productive at Hemet Lake in recent weeks, and staffers recently released the stocking game plan that will easily maintain the bite well into April and through the 2024 Big Trout Campout (April 27-28).
An already-respectable bite received a shot in the arm in the form of a 1,500-pound trout plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife on January 3, and judging by the photos picked up by the WON radar, a lot of them were of anything but standard DFW stockers: full fins, spots and colors.
“The guy next to me caught lightning trout on a chartreuse Power Worm, and I caught four today on Mice Tails, and another guy near me caught two using garlic PowerBait,” said angler Tracy Hartman. “The bite has been pretty consistent after this last stock of 1,500 pounds as well as the previous stock. Carson has been getting them on spoons off the kayak and has been getting one to two lightnings each time he goes, and he’s releasing them so there are fish in there.”
In addition to these periodic deliveries from the DFW, Lake Hemet also sources its own private stocking from Mount Lassen, and these plants consist of 4,000 pounds of premium rainbow and lightning trout. According to lake staffers, the four remaining private deliveries are slated for: late January (4,000 pounds of rainbows), mid February (3,500 pounds rainbow, 500 pounds lightning), late March (4,000 pounds, rainbow) and late April (3,500 rainbow, 500 lightning). These trout plants are announced the day after they occur due to winter weather occasionally causing delivery delays.
That April load will put a charge in the annual Big Trout Campout that goes down April 27-28. This 2-day trout derby featuring thousands in cash and prizes awarded each day (including a Marlon boat) sells out every year, but there is still time to register at WONews.com/product/bigtroutcampout/. All relevant info about the event is available on that website.
Generally speaking, Day use is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $25 per vehicle or $150 for an annual pass. Shoreline fishing is open every day of the week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Marina is closed Tuesday and Wednesday of each week for rentals and personal launch.