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17-0 steelhead sets new Irvine Lake record; bass bite still going strong

8-year-old Daniel Morelos and the 17 pound steelhead he landed, which set a new lake record. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

After further photo analysis, it has been determined that the monster 17-0 fish caught last weekend is indeed a steelhead that sets a new lake record, reported general manager Dave Noyes. "We have determined that the huge fish caught by little 8-year-old Daniel Morelos was a steelhead, easily topping our old lake record of 10-6 for the species," observed Noyes. "It is also the largest trout of any species for the season so far, and is a phenomenal catch for this young angler."  

Noyes continued, "The big fish was hooked on a Gulp! Salmon Egg and nightcrawler combination, and was handed off in a magnanimous gesture by Irvine Lake regular Daniel LeBoef. The batch of trophy steelhead we stocked three weeks ago definitely contained several fish this size or larger, so it is possible that the lake record could be broken again."

Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop added, "The overall trout bite has been very good for both bait dunkers and trollers, and the bass bite has been as good as it gets -- totally off the hook!"

Productive locations for trout included boat dock cove, the west shore, Woody’s Cove, and the flats. Rainbow garlic Gulp! Trout Dough was the No. 1 producer, with red salmon egg-color Power Bait also a top bait choice. Best leader lengths were in the 14- to 16-inch range. Trout trollers got their bites on firetiger-color CD05 Rapala Countdowns. 

Bass chasers found sizzling action on their quarry, with Richard Skilliter of Orange finding typical action by releasing more than 20 largemouth from 2 to 5 pounds on plastics at Santiago Flats. Other bassers scored well on fish to over 7 pounds while dropshotting 4-inch Berkley Handpours in margarita mutilator and bold bluegill colors at 20 feet near Rocky Point and other main lake points, the red clay cliffs, and the submerged vegetation off the west shoreline.   

Anglers spending time patiently soaking shrimp or mackerel baits for catfish are finding some nice whiskerfish in the 3- to nearly 20-pound category. The trick is to find areas of muddy runoff near creek mouths, even if the water is no longer running. 

Crappie anglers are still seeing slow results, while anglers skilled at specialty European carp fishing techniques are finding the elusive buglemouth to over 20 pounds starting to get active.  

Clearing water conditions turned on the bite in the Kids Lagoon for families with children age 12 and younger. The main lake level is extremely high, and is estimated to be less than 6 feet from spilling. Surface water temperature is 61 degrees. 

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- 8-year-old Daniel Morelos of Yorba Linda, 17-0 steelhead (new lake record) on a Gulp! Salmon Egg/nightcrawler combo at the flats.
-- Al Tagami of Corona, 8-13 rainbow trout on a mini jig at Woody’s Cove.
-- James Smelt of Murrieta, 6-0 rainbow trout (Berkley Cup winner) on nightcrawlers at boat dock cove.
-- James Getty of Silverado, 7-1 largemouth bass (released) on a Tru-Tungsten lure at Rocky Point.
-- Richard Skilliter of Orange, 5-1 largemouth bass (released) on plastics at the flats.
-- Adelso Estrada of Wilmington, 20-8 carp on Power Bait at the west shore.
-- Richard Skilliter of Orange, 19-0 channel catfish on shrimp/nightcrawler at the flats.

Photo: Daniel Morelos, 8, and the 17-pound steelhead he landed, which set a new lake record. Credit: Daniel LeBoef
 
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