Jim Matthews, Outdoor Editor
Huge rainbows highlight week’s fishing at Santa Ana River Lakes
A huge 20 ¾-pound rainbow trout was caught by Tom Hayes of Carmichael while fishing at Santa Ana River Lakes this past week, highlighting a week filled with monster rainbows at this popular Orange County water. Hayes’ trout was caught from shore near the pumphouse on a nightcrawler-marshmallow combination doused with Eagle Claw garlic Gravy, but it was just one of a steady procession of big trout. Alex Ortega of Anaheim, had a pair of rainbows that weighed in at 18 and 15 pounds, both were landed on Lucky Cross lures at Levitz’ Corner. Chuck Ashley, Anaheim, caught a 16 ½-pounder on green PowerBait near the boat dock, while rainbows at 16 ¼-pounder were caught by Dick Bennett, Long Beach, and Dennis Johnson, Whittier. Bennett was fishing chartreuse garlic PowerBait and Johnson was using a chartreuse Power Worm. There were two trout in the 15-pound class. The first was a 15 ½-pounder caught by Varion Virgen, Buena Park, on a smoke-colored mini jig at Levitz’ Corner, while Mike Brown, Covina, used a nightcrawler off La Palma Point to land his 15-pounder. Jim Anderson, La Puente, landed trout at 13 ¾ pounds and 10 pounds on chartreuse PowerBait, and Michael Najera, Walnut, was tossing a spoon off the sandy beach to catch a 13 ¼-pound rainbow. Gary Janssen, Corona, caught a 10 ¾-pounder on a yellow and orange trout worm, and Alex Martinez, Chino, landed a 10 ¼-pounder on a gold Kastmaster. Steve Perreira, Buena Park, fished a nightcrawler at the Bubble Hole for his 10 pounder. There will be a huge 50-50 Big Fish, Blind Bogey Tournament this Saturday. Entry fee is $20 (in addition to lake entrance) and there is a 100 percent payback of the entry fees divided equally into the big fish and blind bogey categories so everyone has a change to win. The big fish pool will be divided among the three biggest trout landed, while there will be 10 blind bogey winners. Full details and rules are on The Lakes website at www.fishinglakes.com. Trophy rainbow trout continue to be a major component of each Thursday plant, and anglers can view to videos of the fish going in at The Lakes’ website. In addition to the trophies, thousands of pounds of pan-sized trout averaging about a pound or better are also planted each week. These smaller rainbows are filling stringers. The bite has been wide open on any of the floating baits rolled in the new Hatchery Dust, which is finally available at The Lakes tackle shop and in fishing tackle stores throughout Southern California. The action is also good on small trout jigs and plastics. For you catfish anglers, SARL also received a surprise series of catfish plants last week. Combined, the number of catfish planted surpassed what is normally planted for the catfish grand opener. The fish mostly went into the Catfish Lake, but these catfish also went into the big lake. Santa Ana River Lakes is open seven-days-a-week. Fishing is allowed from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on day passes or from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on an evening pass. Each of these passes is $25. Seniors pay only $23 with a $20 special on Wednesdays. All of these passes have a five-fish limit. For kids 4 to 13, a three-fish pass is just $12. There are 24-hour passes offered on Friday and Saturday night on weekends nearest the full moon each month. The 24-hour passes cost $75 and have a 15 fish limit. An angler can bring his wife and up to three kids and all can help fill the 15-fish limit on one of these passes, and camping is free at SARL with a 24-hour pass. For Santa Ana River Lakes fishing information, call 714-632-7830 or log on at www.fishinglakes.com.
Sizzling trout action and a monster catfish reported from Corona Lake
While most anglers have been focused on Corona Lake’s exceptional trout action, a 53 ½-pound created a huge buzz at the Riverside County lake this past week. The huge catfish was caught and released by Pedro Pevez of Whittier from shore and drew a crowd. It remains trout that are providing most of the action and excitement at Corona Lake, and the two biggest trout reported this week were landed on the same bait combination: A Berkley mouse tail rolled in the new Lip RipperZ Hatchery Dust. The biggest rainbow of the week was a 15 ½-pounder caught by Josh Stark of Murrieta from his float tube on that magic bait combo, while Flory Medina, Corona, landed a 13 ¾-pound rainbow fishing from the shoreline behind the tackle shop on the same bait. Alex Saucedo, Menifee, caught a 10 ¼-pound trout on chartreuse PowerBait with garlic Gravy fishing at the dam. The bite remains exceptional with limits of one to two-pound rainbows pouring out of the lake. Mike Brocamonte, Covina, landed five rainbows for 13 pounds on orange PowerBait with Hatchery Dust. Wes Wright, Fullerton, had five rainbows for 12 ½ pounds, including a five-pounder, on nightcrawlers with Hatchery Dust, and Patrich Gengooriyan, Burbank, had a 10 ½-pound, five-fish stringer that was topped off with a 5 ½-pounder, all caught on green PowerBait with Hatchery Dust. Josh and J.B. Gierlich, both Riverside, had 10 rainbows for 13 ½-pounds on B-Line Jigs with garlic Gravy. Greg and Jose Sanchez along with Jose Compas, all Buena Park, landed 15 rainbows for a 25 ½-pound stringer, all on Mice Tails with Hatchery Dust. Overall, the action has been best for shore anglers fishing from the cove behind bait shop all the way to the dam, while the boat and float tube anglers are scoring from the dam to the upper end of the lake along the main channel. The best bite has been on floating baits or Power Mice rolled in the new Hatchery Dust, scent-doused nightcrawlers, small trout jigs and trout plastics. Heavy weekly plants of rainbows averaging around a pound are made each week, and those plants always have a hefty component of rainbows from five to eight pounds along with super trophies topping 10 pounds and going well up into the teens. Corona Lake is open on a seven-days-a-week schedule. Fishing is allowed from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on day passes or from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on an evening pass. Each of these passes is $25. Seniors pay only $23, with a $20 special on Wednesdays. All of these passes have a five-fish limit. For kids 4 to 13, a three-fish pass is just $12. The 24-hour passes are only sold the weekend nearest the full moon. The 24-hour passes cost $75 and have a 15 fish limit. An angler can bring his wife and up to three kids 17 and under and all can help fill the 15-fish limit on one of these passes, and camping is free at Corona with a 24-hour pass. For Corona Lake fishing information, call 951-277-4489 or log on at www.fishinglakes.com.