South Freshwater

Updated June 29, 2020

AQUEDUCT (NEAR BAKERSFIELD) – Early mornings and night fishing is resulting in the best action on striped bass. Anchovies, soft jerkbaits, 3-inch swimbaits and the occasional topwater plug should all be in the arsenal. Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield launched it’s monthly fishing derbies, and this month striped bass are the target species. Entry costs a whopping buck, and you have to be registered before you can weigh in a qualifying fish. At the end of the month, the winner gets the pot from all entries along with an extra $100 tacked on by the shop itself.

BARRETT RESERVOIR – As of press time, Barrett is slated to reopen to fishing July 8, though it’s remains up in the air as to whether or when rental boats will be available – shore fishing, float tubes and kayaks will all be options under the current plan. Fishing reservations can be made through ticketmaster.com the second Tuesday of each month for the following month.

BIG BEAR LAKE – Trout fishing is on the improve for both boaters and shoreline anglers by most all accounts. The dam area is producing well for bankies as is the north shore at various spots, with some nice ‘bows to 4 pounds in the mix. PowerBait in various flavors and inflated ‘crawlers rigged on longer leaders has been the ticket for most, with Kastmasters also accounting for some bites. Trollers are scoring in better numbers and collecting some good limits with Needlefish, Rapalas and spoons, along with drifting Wedding Ring rigs.

BUENA VISTA LAKES – Most anglers are worm dunking so catfish and panfish are making up the bulk of the numbers. Nightcrawlers are getting the pan-sized channel cats, and pieces of ‘crawler or mealworms under a bobber for bluegill and the occasional crappie. The reaction bite has picked up on the bass stage with some jerkbait fish showing up. Craws or lizards on a Texas rig, Gitzits and stickbaits pitched around tules or shade has been effective when the reaction bite isn’t happening.

CACHUMA LAKE – There is some decent opportunity for quality topwater action under low-light conditions over submerged brush with Spooks and other surface baits that is producing some quality models to 6 pounds. The most consistent bass action throughout the day has been on drop-shots, Texas rigs, Ned rigs and weightless Senkos on outside points in 15 to 25 feet of water. Some anglers targeting crappie are finding very good success with small swimbaits on light underspins, minijigs and grubs on submerged structure. Camping is open at the lake but sites are in high demand.

CASITAS LAKE – Continued good and steady bass numbers with some nice quality of largemouth from 2 to 6-plus pounds as the lake has settled into a typical summer pattern. There’s some good topwater opportunities with various surface baits early, particularly under low-light conditions or marine layer, when small swimbaits and jerkbaits are also getting some takes. Otherwise it’s been a mix of drop-shots, Texas rigs, weightless Senkos, Beavers and IKAs worked in 15 to 25-plus feet doing best throughout the day. Some decent crappie are biting at various spots around the lake on jigs, while deep-water trout continue to take Needlefish in 25 to 40 feet along with trolled Rapalas.

LAKE CAHUILLA – Slow fishing continues, but the sample size has been light with angler pressure low of late. The best move is to fish nightcrawlers and see what’s happening. The most likely biter will be a catfish, but bass and panfish do inhabit these waters.

CASTAIC LAKE – The typical summer pattern is settling into full swing here. Bass are keyed on shad and there has been an improved reaction bite early and late on a mix of topwater, hard and soft jerkbaits, cranks and Alabama rigs, especially so under overcast conditions. When things slow down on the reaction front it’s been Ned rigs, drop-shots and Senkos, with Carolina-rigged creatures and C3 Baits Shimmys also getting grabs. Striped bass have been on the move and more smaller linesides are showing in the surface bite but trolling either flies or umbrella rigs and covering water remains the best approach for the stripers. Best bet for panfish has been in the Lagoon with a mix of minijigs, mealworms and redworms.

CUYAMACA LAKE – Fishing has been a little scratchy of late but it’s still a fair bite overall. Trout numbers have dipped but a few rainbows are still being caught on dough baits and nightcrawlers fished deeper on Carolina rigs. Crappie and bluegill are biting pretty well at the north end of the lake – mealworms and medium ‘crawlers for the ‘gills and lighter colored jigs for crappie. Smaller catfish are showing on cut baits and stink baits along the west shoreline, while bassers are finding some quality here and there on bottom-contact baits and the occasional slow-rolled swimbait.

DIAMOND VALLEY LAKE – Fishing has slowed quite a bit with anglers in a recent night tournament really having to grind it out to get bit and pile up a limit. Still, those willing to put the time in are being rewarded. Finesse stuff along rocky points or offshore of them in 20- to 30-feet of water is the top grind method with some big-Texas-rig-worms or jigs getting some chunks. The water is gin clear and hanging between 74 and 76 degrees. Striped bass fishing is very slow, and even local guide Mike Southerland who targets them almost exclusively with his flycore technique is only connecting on a couple a day. The biters he is getting are in the 5- to 7-pound range.

DIXON LAKE – Bass have been picking up for guys drop-shotting the shore between the Handicap Pier and Trout Cove, and the bank between Boat Dock Cove and the Buoy Line. Catfish are now on the schedule and slated to arrive on July 7. That will be a 1,000-pound plant to kick off the season. When stocking starts, the best bite on these new residents can almost always be found in and just outside of Boat Dock Cove followed by the shoreline between there and the Buoy Line and along the Buoy Line itself. Nightcrawlers and chicken livers will work, but at Dixon, cut mackerel is annually the top producer overall.

EL CAPITAN RESERVOIR – Likely the top bass fishing in the region, though it is also seeing some of the most boat pressure as well. The water level is stable and the fish have pretty much hunkered into their summer area of choice. There’s a good reaction bait bite early, both up top and sub-surface, along with a steady ite on jigs, drop-shots, Texas rigs, Ned worms and Senkos through the day.

ELSINORE LAKE – Decent fishing for the primary three targets: bass, catfish and bluegill. Underspins, drop-shots, Ned rigs and tubes have been getting into largemouth on a fair clip for anglers targeting structure spots or along shorelines, especially on the north end of the lake. Mack Bites (or actual cut mackerel) are picking off the catfish in the same area but boaters are doing more of that damage. Worms or jigs under a bobber fished from shore is what’s working for bluegill.

GREEN VALLEY LAKE – Trout fishing has slowed down some to be essentially a pick bite, though some anglers are putting together the occasional limit with your usual PowerBait, nightcrawler and Mice Tail offerings. Stock days aren’t currently being announced ahead of time to try and limit crowds and heavy pressure, but expect another delivery early this month to help bolster the bite.

GREGORY LAKE – Fishing is still slow without a trout plant in quite some time. Occasionally one is coming up for a bait dunker, and some locals are doing okay on plastics or small swimbaits on the bass scene.

HEMET LAKE – Nightcrawlers or small worms fished from shore are connecting to palm-sized bluegill and the occasional 8- to -10 inch largemouth bass. Trout fishing has been very slow without a plant in months. Fishing, marina rentals, cabins, RV and tent camping, personal launches, bike riding, hiking, picnics with eight or less people and use of the dog park are open. Day use guests must observe social distancing practices and remain six feet away from others at all times, and face coverings must be worn. Lake Hemet will be open from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. daily, and the market will operate over the same days and hours.

HENSHAW LAKE – Angler pressure has been light but the catfish bite has been decent with a fair number of whiskerfish picking up shrimp, Magic Bait or chicken livers along the shore between the dock and dam. A few crappie are biting around the dock and for boaters over some offshore structure, but it’s slow overall, but that’s the deal here in summer.

HESPERIA LAKE – Catfish went in on June 18 and again on July 2. Lake staffers said mackerel, nightcrawlers and shrimp have been the top baits, and the hot spots included the North Shore, Inlet, Drain and Stock Cove. A 9 pounder ate a garlic shrimp off the North Shore, and a 6 ate a shrimp at the inlet. One group of anglers had limits for everyone on hot dogs on day, and a lot of fish in the 3- to 6-pound range are being caught. Night fishing is now available on Fridays and Saturdays Friday and Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m. and costs $18 (5-fish limit) for adults, $6 for kids under 10 (2-fish limit) and $15 for seniors and military. Since stock days are no secret, Hesperia Lake has been reaching the 150-angler capacity on occasion, and it’s usually on the Friday after the stock. Anglers should plan their arrival accordingly if the plan is to fish on stock day.

HODGES RESERVOIR – Hodges reopened to public recreation on July 1 with the same restrictions and protocols implemented at the other San Diego City Lakes in place.

IRVINE LAKE – A fair pick on catfish with most bites coming on a mix of garlic-scented mackerel, bonito or shrimp soaked along the West Shore. Bass are best early and late with reaction baits working for some decent models on cloudy mornings, otherwise it’s been your standard summertime soft plastics arsenal doing the job. Bluegill continue to bite well on mealworms under bobbers or on light split-shot rigs and minijigs.

ISABELLA LAKE – Largemouth bass are suspended in deeper water either over structure or around bait schools, and they should be targeted with jerkbaits, spybaits, Senkos and drop-shots on the structure just to see what’s along the bottom. Catfish are on a fair bite for anglers using dip baits or shrimp. Crappie remain dependable on live minnows or jigs, and they are also trending toward deeper water. Some guys are still finding them on certain pieces of flooded brush or timber.

JENNINGS LAKE – Fair fishing for a mix of bass, bluegill and catfish, reported lake staffers. Largemouth are mostly coming on Senkos, drop-shots, Texas rigs and Ned rigs. Medium ‘crawlers or mealworms have been doing the trick for bluegill around the T-Dock, Hermit and Half Moon coves and Sentry Point. Catfish have been best on mackerel or Mack Bites soaked in Half Moon and Siesta coves. Staffers are expecting a catfish stocking in the next week or two. Boat rentals are available on a first come, first serve basis and the first night fishing session of the season is on tap Friday, July 3 with fishing allowed ’til midnight.

JESS RANCH LAKES – Slow on both lakes for trout, but that’s the deal this time of year at this year-round trout fishery. Going deep with scented baits is the way to go. The bass bite was good a couple weeks ago, but it’s since tapered off. There are still a few to football size coming in on Senkos. Bluegill are also picking up for anglers using small worms or jigs on the west shore of Lake 2, and there have been some quality slabs to a pound caught. Visit JessRanchLakesNews.com for updated information and pandemic protocols and changes in available fishing services.

KERN RIVER – Flows at Kernville have been ranging from 480 to 350 cfs, so it’s still very comfortable for wading and fishing. Rainbows are still looking up and picking off dries in the mornings, and for the rest of the day, swinging and stripping streamers is drawing tugs. Most of the fly fishing is being done on the upper half of the 20 Mile Section, while closer to town, spin anglers are picking them off with worms, eggs and crickets in the easy access spots, taking advantage of regular stocking.

LOPEZ LAKE – Bass fishing is just fair overall but the quality has been there for anglers putting the puzzle pieces together. While numbers haven’t been high, guys sticking with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, deep-divers and underspins are finding their fair share of fish, along with Senkos and drop-shot or Texas-rigged worms fished out a little farther offshore in deeper zones. Anglers trolling for trout are generally connecting with a few rainbows with the occasional deep-water trout also taking dough baits or ‘crawlers. Bluegill and redear are biting well on mealworms and redworms.

MIRAMAR RESERVOIR – Frogs are getting a little attention early and late but the most consistent bite in recent days has been on a mix of wacky-rigged Senkos, Flukes and darker drop-shot worms. Bluegill have also been on a very good chew lately, eating just about any live worm offering thrown their way. Crappie and catfish have tapered off the last couple weeks, however.

MORENA LAKE – No report available.

MURRAY RESERVOIR – There are some good topwater shots with walking baits on points holding shad in the mornings but the most consistent way to find bites has been with darker worms on the drop-shot or Texas rig. Occasional cranks, swimbaits, underspins and A rigs are also finding biters here and there. A little better quality of fish being reported as well in recent days, including a 7.5 pounder on topwater. Crappie action has died down considerably with a shortage of live shiners in the region but bluegill are biting well, mainly on redworms, waxworms and mealworms.

NACIMIENTO LAKE – Not quite as much activity on topwater this past week but there have still been some opportunities in isolated areas early. The best spotted bass action has been in 10 to 17 feet with spider jigs, spider grubs and smaller plastics on the drop-shot. White bass are schooled up and popping up in brief boils but have been consistently on the move and tough to pin down. Anglers are locating schools of crappie in 9 to 17 feet around submerged brush where slabs to a solid 3 pounds can be taken on minijigs. Some bigger sunfish have been spotted up shallow on beds and there is still heavy recreational boat traffic Fridays through Sundays, so plan accordingly.

OTAY RESERVOIR – Good topwater opportunities here in and around the tules with frogs in the muck and other surface baits if you find yourself where the shad is, along with some attention on cranks, jerkbaits, Flukes and underspins. However, the water level is falling and most of the better fish are tough to get at within legitimate casting/landing range right now. There is a fairly steady worm bite going in 10 to 15 feet with many anglers focusing on flats and ledges. A few open-water breakers are starting to show but not yet in force. Look for that bite to unfold more as the summer does. Bluegill are on a good chew and eating just about any live worm offering. A few catfish are being taken on garlic-scented shrimp and mackerel.

PERRIS LAKE – Fishing has slowed overall with water levels rapidly rising, but some anglers are getting in the right spot at the right time with the right bait and putting up good numbers. Most of the biters are quality post-spawn largemouth, and many are coming up spitting up shad or crawdads. The campground is fully open along with all parking lots. Boating capacity is now at 450 vessels per day which is our maximum allowable amount. Please visit www.reservecalifornia.com or call 1-800-444-PARK to make reservations for camping. Camping Reservations are needed on all summer weekends and holidays. On weekends, regular day use capacity (Approximately 3,000 parking spaces) and 450 vessels has been full by 11 AM. Please arrive early for day use / boating on weekends as it is first come first served.

PIRU LAKE – The lake is expected to reopen to fishing July 1.

POWAY LAKE – Catfish remain an angler’s best bet right now, and they’re best targeted with light (6-pound) line and a light split shot (some boaters use no weight at all) with mackerel or chicken livers. The Log Boom has been the most productive area for these holdover cats. Bass fishing is slow to fair with some biters bring found on drop-shotted 4-inch worms fished from shore just over drop-offs. Some Ned Rig fish have been reported, too.

PYRAMID LAKE – Striped bass are starting to boil with more frequency near the marina and around Chumash Island in the mornings where they can be nabbed with various shad-imitation topwater lures, swimbaits and soft jerkbaits. There have also been some stripers taking cut baits throughout the day. Largemouth and smallmouth are also hitting topwater and swimbaits early as they key on shad and are best on finesse plastics and Senkos fished down deeper throughout the day. Catfish have been biting steadily throughout the lake on cut baits soaked in deeper coves, while bluegill and crappie are picking up and taking a mix of mealworms, redworms, ‘crawlers and minijigs along grasslines and deeper structure. Current lake hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

SAN ANTONIO LAKE – Best bet on the fishing front here remains targeting catfish with garlic-scented cut baits or going after small to medium panfish along the banks near cover with mealworms or redworms under a bobber or on light split-shot setups. The bass bite remains just ho-hum with occasional bites coming on finesse plastics off main and secondary points. Launching is available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and the lake is trying to beef up staffing make more launching days available through the summer.

SANTA ANA RIVER LAKES – Quality catfish and big tilapia were stocked twice last week and that made for more good catches of both species through the weekend capped by a few more cats into the double digits and hefty tilapia in the 3- to 5-pound range. Catfish remain best on mackerel or shrimp in either the Big Lake or Catfish Lake and float tubing has been a good way to cover water and find bites. The tilapia are best targeted with nightcrawlers on light-line setups, and they have been biting best in the afternoons and early evenings.

SANTA MARGARITA LAKE – Bass fishing has been off and on and it was a little tougher to get bit through the weekend. The quality has been good when finding a few biters, however. Mid-range and deep-diving cranks are finding some of the better models along with jigs and drop-shot and Texas-rigged plastics worked on steeper rock walls and edges of spawning flats. Bluegill are still up on beds in various spots and there appears to be a lot of shad in the lake. Panfish are best on mealworms, redworms and minijigs. Catfish are starting to pick up and take mackerel and anchovy offerings, and there was a massive 28 pounder landed last week.

SANTEE LAKES – Shrimp, mackerel and ‘crawlers have been accounting for most of the recent catfish bites after three straight weeks of stockings, while bass action remains best early and late. Still a few fish on frogs and walking baits up top early while the most consistent action is still on drop-shots, Texas rigs, wacky-rigged Senkos and Ned rigs.

SAN VICENTE RESERVOIR – Fishing varies from day to day on the bass front. On the slower days, anglers are spotting a bunch of nice fish but it’s tough to get them to bite. On the better days, they’re biting lower-profile Fluke-type baits and a variety of soft-plastic jerkbaits so long as they’re scaled down to replicate the small silversides San V bass are feeding on when they’re spotted boiling in open water. The water is clear and 76 to 78 degrees depending on location and time of day. Drop-shots in 20 to 30 feet of water also continues to produce some 2- and 3- pound chunks.

SILVERWOOD LAKE – The largemouth bass bite has improved for the second-straight week, but now the bite includes the area around the dock as well as where they were already biting through Miller Canyon. Jigs and worms are getting it done with those guys. Sardines and garlic worms are picking off striped bass throughout Cleghorn and Miller canyons and near the dam. Catfish are on chicken livers near the dam, and crappie and bluegill are in the coves along the channel and eating mealworms.

SKINNER LAKE — Striped bass are hot for cut bait anglers dropping anchovies or chicken livers at the dam, off the main point and near the Marina. Most of the fish are on the smaller side, but there are some boils popping up early and late that have some bigger. Chicken livers are also picking up catfish around Ramp 2 and the Inlet, and the largemouth bite has been consistent on small swimbaits with an underspin, jerkbaits and Senkos

SUTHERLAND RESERVOIR – The reservoir is slated to reopen to fishing and public recreation starting July 3, according to the City of San Diego.

WOHLFORD LAKE – Another load of catfish goes in July 3. The bite has already been solid on chicken livers or mackerel, so that stock should create a nice boost to the fishing over the holiday weekend. Bass numbers have “increased notably” according to lake staffers. Angler Tom Campbell stuck a 7.8 largemouth on a frog in Boat Dock Cove. Crappie have been slow with some caught on windier days when boaters can drift with jigs or minnows.