Santee Trout Season Reopener draws big crowds, plenty of bites

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    BY BLAKE WARREN

    SANTEE – The annual Trout Season Reopener at Santee Lakes was as big of a hit as ever, drawing record attendance to the park through the weekend and into Monday’s holiday, according to Parks and Recreation Coordinator Rich Imbimbo. A big part of the draw was Santee’s first stocking of the year and the largest since the kickoff to the season at 3,000 pounds, which was split between Lakes 3, 4 and 6 and included some trophy-class rainbows along with some lightning trout.

    Santee’s newest resident swimmers bit well for the crowds, and holding true to the pattern immediately following the lakes’ last few stocks, it was the jig tossers that

    were capitalizing early and often for the Reopener.

    “The hot bait for the weekend was yellow and chartreuse minijigs that were accounting for good numbers of trout,” Imbimbo said. “Pink and orange Mice Tails and Power Worms also seemed to be working really well. A few people were catching fish on PowerBait but the majority of fish were coming on jigs and worms.”

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    Lakes 3 and 4 were closed through much of the week ahead of the event, and that proved to be fruitful for weekend trouters who were greeted Saturday morning by plenty of eager and willing biters. More than a fair share of limits found their way to stringers over the weekend with a considerable number of solid 2 to 3 pounders, along with a handful of larger models in the 5- to 7-pound class making occasional appearances.

    The next trout plant is expected in early February with another to follow in March as the last of the season. In other news, there have been a few quality largemouth taken of late with slow-rolled swimbaits and lipless crankbaits along with your standard wintertime plastics, and the occasional catfish can still be enticed with cut baits.

    ONE OF MANY quality rainbows out of East Lake 3 at Santee Lakes.
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