Five top trout tactics at Hemet Lake include twists on classics

LAKE HEMET is a somewhat-hidden Southern California gem that’s technically a year-round trout fishery since its altitude keeps water temps cool. PHOTO COURTESY

Anglers heading up for the WON BIG TROUT CAMPOUT should have these tactics at the ready. 


HEMET— One cool thing about targeting trout at Hemet Lake is a wide variety of classic tactics will get the job done. That being said, there are some wrinkles specific to that particular fishery as well as ways an angler can set his or herself apart from the pack.

1. Gulp! goes the stocked trout.


As someone who has covered Lake Hemet as part of his SoCal freshwater beat for almost a decade, I can honestly say Berkley’s Gulp! Chunky Cheese comes up as a path to full stringers at this lake more than any other lake in the state. To be honest, I have no idea which lake comes in second in that department.

2. Stanky worms

Nightcrawlers and trout go together “like peas and carrots” but according to the Marina Manager at Lake Hemet, garlic nightcrawlers and PowerBait are neck-and-neck as far as what they sell the most of. Plain ‘crawlers will work, but adding garlic has been becoming more of “a thing” lately in SoCal in particular.

4. Minjigs for fast action

By far the quickest way to pile up a limit at Lake Hemet is minijigs, it’s just a question of if the trout will be interested in them in a given day. The closer to stock day, the better, and a good move would be to start with jigs and fall back on bait if that bite’s not on.

MICRO SPOONS have been trending upward lately, and they are proven effective at Lake Hemet. This tanker rainbow ate a Trucha Spoon. Photo Credit:

5. Spoon fed

Spoons are also big sellers at the lake, and classics like Thomas Buoyants, Kastmasters, Super Dupers, etc. should all be at the ready. But, if everyone around you is spooning with the classics, “micro spoons” might be the way to go for something different. If you aren’t familiar with this growing trend on the trout scene, visit or find them on Instagram for plenty of supporting evidence. Also, the owner frequents Hemet Lake and has done a lot of damage out there with them.

2. The “moldable floating dough” with science on its side

Of course, standard PowerBait does work here which should come as no surprise since it’s responsible for more trout carnage nationwide than everything else put together. A smart angler will experiment with leader length. As a general rule, the more stained the water, the shorter the leader.

Anglers heading up for the WON BIG TROUT CAMPOUT should have these tactics at the ready.