BY MIKE STEVENS
HEMET – Trout season took flight after 3,000 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows and 500 pounds of lightning trout were dumped into Diamond Valley Lake followed by a “surprise” second stock of the season chalked up for the final day of November. The trout bite has been as solid and predictable as always, but other species have been overachieving surely thanks in part to all that “Vitamin T” in the water.
Quality largemouth were the first non-trout species to pick up after stocking kicked off, and impressive catches were made on swimbaits and some reaction stuff right ouf of the gates. Highlighting that department in recent days was Gustavo Torrealba of Fish Elite whose largemouth bag featured fish of 9.2 and 5.12 pounds. The bigger of those two choked down an entire 12-inch swimbait.
Bass anglers not chasing the big-swimbait bite are finding quality biters on drop-shots, Texas rigs and Carolina-rigged creature baits. Most of that action is coming out of 25 to 25 feet of water, and while the fish are there, the rewards are going to those willing to work for it.
Striped bass have also perked up since trout arrived, but after the first month they’re still playing second fiddle to the spiking largemouth bite. Other than one double-digit model that bit right when trout season got underway, it’s been mostly school-sized fish being picked up on smaller swimbaits and jerkbaits. In many cases, they’re being caught incidentally to largemouth fishing, and some anglers are finishing the day with a nice mix of bucketmouths and stripers on the scoreboard.
That second “surprise” trout stock consists of a total of 4,000 pounds of trout which is 1,000 pounds more than the delivery that got the season started earlier in November. Lake officials said the second plant in November is not taking the place of the December stocking, and while the date for that one has yet to be announced, they’re generally in the first half of each month.
The bite is almost always the same on stock weeks. It centers on a hot minijig bite in the first couple coves to the right (as you walk down from the parking lot) of the marina. That zone gets a ton of angler pressure, but it still produces. Anglers opting to head the other direction toward the East Dam usually find a decent bite as well only with fewer anglers to compete with. Sight fishing with minijigs is the way to go following a stock, and later in the month, the floating-bait bite takes the top spot until the next load arrives. Some of the bigger trout catches are coming from bass anglers spotting big ones and going after them like Mike Marquez who stuck a 7.5 doing exactly that.