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San Diego Fishing Report – SDFish.com

February 21, 2018 Uncategorized  0


Current San Diego fishing report, fish counts, and conditions

We’re entering one of the best stretches of the year for freshwater fishing in San Diego. Lakes are still planting trout, bass are feverishly trying to put on weight to endure the grueling tribulations of the spawning cycle, and catfish and crappie are starting to stir more and more as the water temps climb and the days get longer.

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Santee Lakes: Trout season is still going at Santee Lakes, with 2 stocks remaining (February 21st and March 7th). The water temperature is right about 60 degrees, which has led to the bass bite picking up as well. Jeromie Jackson caught a nice and fat 4 pound quality bass on a senko last week, while plenty of other trout and bass were caught by kids and adults alike. Park hours are 8 am to 5 pm Monday – Thursday and 6 am to 5 pm Friday – Sunday. Visit santeelakes.com for more information!

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  • Barrett Lake: Currently closed. Scheduled to reopen for the 2018 fishing season on May 2nd. Reservations for the month of May will go on sale on Tuesday, April 10th at 7 PM.

    Lake Cuyamaca: Rangers at Cuyamaca report that trout fishing has “picked up considerably” with their recent trout stock of 1,500 pounds from Wright’s Rainbows on Friday, February 16th. The next stock is scheduled for March 13th – 1,200 pounds from Jess Ranch. ‘Maca is open daily from 6 am to 4 pm.

    Chollas Lake: Open to kids only (15 and under). The CDFW has made a few small trout plants at Chollas Lake this year, most recently the week of January 28th. Though the CDFW does not divulge the amount of trout stocked, they typically put 125-200 pounds of rainbows per stock – about 250-400 fish averaging 1/2 pound in weight. Open daily 6:30 am – 30 minutes before sunset.

    Diamond Valley Lake: A recent trout stock on February 13th (3,500 pounds from Mt. Lassen) got swimbait anglers fired up. Those “trout truck chasers” have been hitting DVL hard lately, and some rumors of big fish are present – though mostly unconfirmed. Kristofer Sands caught and released a 10.44 pound bass on February 12th. Chris Velotta caught and released an 8.23 pound bass, also on February 12th. Mike Collins and Randy Estrada beat 36 other teams to win the National Bass West tournament on Saturday, February 18th with a 5 fish limit of 25.35 pounds. Big bass in that tournament was 9.41 pounds, caught by Jeff Every and Josh Carruthers. DVL is open Wednesday to Sunday from sunrise to an hour before sunset.

    Dixon Lake: Dixon is still in the middle of its trout season. The last trout stock occurred on February 14th, and more are scheduled to be planted on Wednesday, February 21st. Water visibility is about 25′ at Dixon, so be prepared for clear water conditions. The water temperature is approximately 60 degrees. The bass spawn is right on deck at Dixon with those water temperatures, and typically there is a giant bass or two caught at the end of February or early March – so stay tuned. No state fishing license is required to fish at Dixon, and the lake is open daily 6 am to 5:30 pm.

    Doane Pond: This small pond in the Palomar Mountain State Park is yet to receive any trout plants this season as its still exceptionally cold up there. Trout are typically stocked by the CDFW late April through June at Doane, and average about 150 pounds per stock, 1/2 pound average fish. There is no point to fishing up there until the trout stocks resume.

    El Capitan Reservoir: Bass fishing at El Capitan Reservoir has been very good lately. Typical San Diego style bass tactics are producing as bass are staging in preparation to spawn. Senkos, drop shots, and jigs are all getting bit from 3-25′ deep. Crappie are also starting to chew per this report on our forums. El Cap is open on its winter schedule; open for fishing Friday through Tuesday from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour before sunset. The water temperature is in the low 60s, and the boat launching conditions are good.

    Guajome Park: No recent reports from Guajome Park. But the ponds are open for shore fishing from 9:30 am to sunset each day. Parking is $3.

    Lake Henshaw: No recent reports from Henshaw, but this time of year is traditionally pretty good for crappie. The CDFW has been making a concerted effort to improve fishing at Henshaw the last couple years by adding a lot of fish habitat. Once a very popular destination for bass anglers, Henshaw is now mostly known for its carp population – which local fly anglers and bowfishermen appreciate. The lake is open daily for fishing.

    Lake Hodges: Reopened for the 2018 season on Wednesday, February 7th. Bass fishing has actually been pretty decent at Hodges this year, some anglers reporting both good numbers and quality of fish. A 10 pounder was weighed in at the dock on the opener, though the angler didn’t want to be named nor photographed. Frank Pasalich (of Artifishables Plastics) and his boys had a good opener and told me, “we caught more keepers today than all of last season. Looks like the fish might cooperate this year.” Hodges is open on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday schedule through October. The concession stand is not yet open (March 7th) so boat rentals are not available currently. Boat launching is good however using their secondary ramp.

    Lake Jennings: Lake staff at Jennings report trout biting on mini jigs and PowerBait near Eagle Point and Siesta Cove. Trout were stocked at the end of the week before last (1,500 pounds) and more are scheduled this week, and next week. Staff is also reporting bass being caught on bright colored senkos, a tell-tale sign that the bass are starting to spawn. Jennings is open Friday – Sunday for boat launches, rental boats and fishing around the entire lake. But the lake is also open daily for shore fishing from 7:30 am to 5 pm along the campground shoreline (don’t have to be camping to fish).

    Lindo Lake: Lakeside’s urban pond Lindo Lake received their only trout plant of the season so far the week of December 17th. Truthfully, don’t expect much at Lindo in terms of fishing outside of trout plants, but there are bass, catfish, carp and bluegill in Lindo – and every now and again some kid catches a pretty nice bass and reminds us they’re there. Lindo Lake is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

    Loveland Reservoir: Any anglers fishing Loveland right now are tight-lipped – but the fishing this time of year can be promising for bass. Like most lakes in the county, bass will be staging and entering the early part of their spawning cycle right now where they can be especially vulnerable to shoreline anglers. Since Loveland does not allow any boating or float tubing, its essential that bass be shallow in order to have much success there. Jigs and plastics are usually the way to go at Loveland in the early Spring. Loveland is open daily (closed on major holidays), currently from 6 am to 5 pm.

    Lower Otay Lake: Fishing at Lower Otay has been good on 2-3 pound bass. Chatterbaits, senkos and plastics fished in and around the flooded tules have been the ticket. Forum member ‘JJbasser’ (who caught a 12+ pound bass in late January) has been continuing to post successful reports in our forum. Dennis Kolender caught a 64.1 pound blue catfish while bass fishing at Otay on the 14th. Chuck Miller and Rich Welch beat 36 other teams to win the San Diego Team Series Tournament there on Saturday the 17th with a 5 fish limit weighing 17.21 pounds. Welch reported they caught their fish on a Carolina rig early. Cameron Rodriguez and Wes Zimmerman had the big bass of the tournament, a 6.49 pounder. Lower Otay is open on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday schedule for shore fishing, float tubes/kayaks, rental boats and private boats.

    Lake Miramar: Bass fishing at Miramar is starting to really pick up, one of our forum members even reported catching bass on topwater already. Matt Aneshansley posted an awesome photo of his young daughter with a nice Miramar bass from Sunday. Bass are staging at Miramar for the spawn and some bigger female fish are already starting to show up. Without trout stocks this winter there wasn’t a ton of swimbait anglers pressuring the lake and Miramar might fly a little more under the radar this Spring than usual because of it. The launch ramp is good to go right now, and the lake is open for fishing and private boats, kayaks and float tubes daily one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Gates open at 5:30 am. Call 858-527-1722 for concession hours if you’re interested in rental boats.

    Lake Morena: Lake Morena has received fewer trout stocks than usual this Winter due to the CDFW’s hatchery shortage (from a fish kill). They last received CDFW trout the week of December 17th – but received 1,000 pounds from Jess Ranch also the first week of February. Another 1,000 pound plant it scheduled the week of March 12th. Morena receivers very little fishing pressure due, so there should be a good amount of trout left and the conditions are good with the water temperature a little shy of 60 degrees. Boat launching is available and the lake is open daily from 6 am to 4:30 pm – rental boats also available.

    Lake Murray: Only two CDFW trout stocks this season, both in January have kept things pretty lackluster at Murray for the swimbait anglers and trout fishermen. But there have been some rumored big bass caught, though no proof of anything that I’ve seen yet. Still, the spawn is right around the corner at Murray and there WILL be some big bass caught there this Spring – there always is. Our favorite Murray regular, member ‘VinnyBass’ has been sharing reports as always – and his report last week included a very thick 5 pounder. Murray is open daily, and the boat ramp is reliably operational. No other trout stocks are on the schedule right now, but that doesn’t mean that the CDFW is done this season (they typically stock the lowland lakes in March even).

    Lake Poway: Trout season is still in full swing at Poway, and the bass spawn is right around the corner – so these next few weeks should provide a chance at a giant bass for anglers. Mike Parmley caught a 7 pound trout on February 11th while trolling a Powerbait/nightcrawler combo in the middle of the lake. Trout were last stocked at the end of January, but a fresh delivery is scheduled for Wednesday, February 21st (1,500 pounds). The water temperature is right about 60 degrees. Poway is open Wednesday through Sunday from 6 am to sunset.

    Lake Ramona: This little hike-in only lake is open daily for shore fishing (no boats, tubes, or any type of vessel or water contact permitted). Small sized bass are starting to flood the shallows as they prepare for the spawn and can be caught on plastics. Long casts and a stealth approach are paramount to any sort of real success up there as the water is ultra clear. Pack plenty of water for the long and grueling walk in from the Blue Sky Reserve parking lot in Poway. No permits are required, but a California State Fishing License is.

    San Diego River: This is a very productive time to of the year to fish the San Diego River. Bass will typically be active for the next couple months and accessible in the shallow water along the shoreline. Popular SDFish poster and YouTuber ‘Rodmaster858’ has been having some successful outings from the banks of the river on the bass, check out his recent report. The river is of course open daily, no permits required, but you need a California State Fishing License. Be careful of your surroundings, the river bed is littered with vagrants and trash.

    San Vicente Reservoir: The water temp is up to over 63 degrees at San Vicente. All those notorious big headed largemouth bass from San Vicente are plumping up as they try to gain weight to endure the grueling spawning cycle. So there are some nice fish showing up at San Vicente right now, notably this 9.4 pound bass reported by forum member ‘kahai808’ last week. You have plenty of options for lure selection at San Vicente as bass stage in depths from 40′ or more on up to a foot or less. Senkos continue to be the popular lure choice here. Large bluegill are being caught from the courtesy dock on drop shotted night crawlers. Blue catfish are stirring also, but anglers are reluctant to divulge too much info in fear of drawing in crowds from LA and further. The concessionaire reports that Jeff Green of El Cajon caught a 17 pound catfish on cut mackerel on the 16th. Rob Magargal caught and released a blue catfish of about 50 pounds while fishing for bass on February 9th – his report also includes a lot of healthy bass. San Vee is open for fishing Thursday through Monday, launching conditions are good. For boat rental availability, call the concessionaire at 619-390-1918.

    Santee Lakes: Trout season is still going at Santee Lakes, with 2 stocks remaining (February 21st and March 7th). The water temperature is right about 60 degrees, which has led to the bass bite picking up as well. Jeromie Jackson caught a nice and fat 4 pound quality bass on a senko last week, while plenty of other trout and bass were caught by kids and adults alike. Park hours are 8 am to 5 pm Monday – Thursday and 6 am to 5 pm Friday – Sunday. Visit santeelakes.com for more information!

    Lake Skinner: The water temperature at Skinner has been cooling quite a bit, down from 64 a couple weeks ago to around 55 now. The water level is also dropping, over 10 feet since they started drawing it with a few more feet planned. The last trout stock was on February 14th, with the next stock set for February 28th. Striper are being caught near Ramp 2 and by the Inlet on sardines, shad and baitfish imitating artificials. Bluegill and catfish are reportedly slow. Bass are showing on drop shotted plastics. Samantha Bridges caught a 6.4 pound largemouth on a nightcrawler on the 17th.

    Lake Sutherland: Opens for the 2018 fishing season on March 2nd on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday schedule. The launch ramp will again be serviceable this season it appears, but boat launching is only permitted on Saturdays and Sundays and requires an inspection for quaggas. With the stable, and higher than usual water level over the last year you can count on this being a pretty good year for anglers at Sutherland. Look for a good early season bite for bass anglers to start the season fishing around the flooded brush and rocky outcroppings.

    Sweetwater Reservoir: There had been a really good, albeit mostly secret crappie bite at Sweetwater the last few weeks. We don’t have any updated info from the last week or two, but its probably still pretty good out there. Sweetwater is open for shore fishing only on a very limited 2.5 mile stretch of shoreline. Permits are $5 (cash only) and a California Sport Fishing License is required as well. No boats, float tubes, or kayaks permitted. Open for fishing Saturday – Monday from 7 am to 4 pm. Closed on major holidays. No live bait allowed, except for worms and crickets.

    Upper Otay Lake: Upper Otay continues to not garner much attention from bass anglers as it chugs along without fanfare following a presumed fish kill several years ago. Still, this is the time of year when the fishing could be good, and some anglers reported signs for optimism the last few months. Open for shore fishing and float tubing only on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday schedule. Permits can be purchased from an iron ranger pay station. Catch and release only, no bait, barbless artificials only.

    Lake Wohlford: 1,500 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked on February 14th, and another stock is scheduled for February 21st. The water temp is around 56°. Chris Reyna caught and released a 6.2 pound bass using a creature bait near Twin Peaks, and other bass were reportedly caught on swimbaits, crawdads and dark colored plastic worms. Crappie are also being caught in small numbers on live bait, early in the morning. Big fish of the week last week went to a pair of 7 pound rainbows; Ronnie Wooward and James Black both cashing in on those. Wooward caught his on a nightcrawler in Oakvale Cove while Black’s came on Powerbait on the Senior Shoreline. Wohlford is open for fishing daily right now from 6 am to 6 pm. Private boats are STILL outlawed…


    Chuck Miller and Rich Welch beat 36 other teams to win the San Diego Team Series Tournament at Lower Otay on Saturday the 17th with a 5 fish limit weighing 17.21 pounds. Welch reported they caught their fish on a Carolina rig early. Cameron Rodriguez and Wes Zimmerman had the big bass of the tournament, a 6.49 pounder.

    Fish Plants

    The CDFW has nothing scheduled in San Diego for this week. They last planted in San Diego County the last week of January at Chollas, Cuyamaca, and Murray.

    Planting trout this week: Dixon, Jennings, Poway, Santee Lakes, and Wohlford.

    Planting trout next week: Jennings and Skinner.

    Bay Fishing

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  • Fishing in San Diego Bay is typically very good this year as fish follow warmer water up into the shallows and particularly the marinas where they’re fun and easy to catch. We’ve seen a lot of halibut show up on the forums lately as well. Guide Alan Clowers (captainclowers.com) reports good fishing for bay bass on Berkley Gulp!® Shrimp fished on 1/2 oz lead heads and halibut biting 5″ swimbaits in green/brown colors as well as drop-shotted flukes in 40′ of water.

    Popular forum member ‘sargo’ caught a really nice sculpin from the shore on the 17th. Ryan Paur, fishing with his girlfriend on Monday in their float tubes also got a really nice sculpin. There are a ton of really good recent fish reports from San Diego Bay in our bay fishing forum right now, make sure to check that out, and don’t forget to post your reports as well…

    The “Shore Pounders” are hosting another get together of fishing, food and camaraderie on the bay this Sunday, February 25th, location TBD.

    Surf Fishing

    There is lots of variety coming from the surf, rocks and jetties along the coastline right now. We’ve seen the usual suspects; perch, halibut, corbina, and even some nice spotfin croaker reported. The rocky reefs in La Jolla are also producing a mix of inshore species, including coveted sheepshead for bait anglers. Follow along our surf fishing forum for all of the intel.

    Saltwater Sportfishing

    Most of the focus right now is on the rock cod fishing south of the border (closed in California for boat-based anglers through February). Charter Captain Alan Clowers (captainclowers.com) says most of his fish are being found in 300′ of water on humps and ledges, and describes the rock cod fishing as epic. They limited out in a recent trip in just 2 hours. With the weather up, there hasn’t been a lot of action the last couple days from the sportfishing fleet.

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  • 1/2 Days: With the rockfish season still closed, 1/2 day boats are limited to mostly calico bass and sand bass. The Dolphin 1/2 day trips (AM and PM) reported 33 sculpin, 147 sand bass, and 41 calico bass on the 18th.

    3/4 Days: Some of these trips are targeting rockfish in Mexican waters and mixing in some yellowtail and bonito.

    Multi-Day: H&M Landing reports their 2.5 day trip on the Relentless scored 190 rockfish, 95 vermillion rockfish, and 95 yellowtail with 19 anglers aboard that returned on the 19th. Seaforth reported 170 rockfish, 5 barracuda, and 15 bonito on the Pacific Voyager’s 2.5 day trip returning late last week.

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