Irvine Lake catfish active; angler scores whiskerfish Grand Slam
Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:
Catfish anglers at Irvine Lake dominated the action this week, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "The catfish bite has been decent most nights, and right after the thunderstorm it was really good," observed Getty. "Lake regular Phil Hildenbrandt had an awesome week, and got a 'Grand Slam' by catching every kind of catfish we have in the lake. He scored blue catfish weighing 15-12 and 14-7, along with channel cats of 8-6, and 8-0. Hildenbrandt then got one of the rarest fish in the lake, an 8-6 albino catfish. All of his fish were caught on mackerel at Santiago Flats."
Good stringers of eating-size 2- to 6-pound channel cats were caught by anglers who concentrated near brush, which unfortunately meant that most of the larger fish escaped. Santiago Flats was the top location, with mackerel, bonito, commercial preparations, and Gulp! Bloody Shad Guts all fooling the kitties.
Best tactic for crappie anglers was fishing at 16 feet over submerged brush on Santiago Flats from 6 to 8 p.m. Favored lures for slabs to over a pound were white Atomic Tubes and white 2-inch Gulp! Jigging Grubs.
Hybrid striped bass (aka sunshine bass or wipers) were a bit more reclusive this week. Some 3- to 4-pound-class fish were caught by anglers soaking chicken liver at night, or tossing shad imitating lures into boiling fish during the day.
Anglers trolling with seven colors of leadcore line near the dam are finding a surprisingly steady bite on rainbow trout to 3 pounds, with a Cop-Car color Luhr Jensen Needlefish tied to 6-pound mono leader being the top enticer.
Irvine Lake Pro-Team leader Marlon Meade also found an excellent drifting bite. "We fished early in the morning," reported Meade. "The bite was really good on mixed rainbow trout, steelhead, and largemouth bass by dropping a splitshot-rigged orange or chartreuse Power Worm down to the 40-foot level in 72 feet of water. There is also a huge bloom of juvenile shad in the lake right now; all of the fish are stuffed with them."
Plenty of bluegill and redear were caught in brushy areas on mealworms and Gulp! Crickets. The Kids Lagoon had very good catfish action on stocker-size fish for families with children age 12 and younger, with the marshmallow/mealworm combo the best bait.
The main lake water level is receding slowly; surface water temperature is 80 degrees. A minor algae bloom is developing due to the warm water.
Outstanding catches of the week included:
-- Phil Hildenbrandt of Anaheim, 15-12 and 14-7 blue catfish (released) on mackerel at the flats.
-- Phil Hildenbrandt of Anaheim, 8-6 and 8-0 channel catfish on mackerel at the flats.
-- Phil Hildenbrandt of Anaheim, 8-6 albino catfish on mackerel at the flats.
-- Whitney Curry of Silverado, 4-0 hybrid striper (released) on jerkbait/Hot Sauce at the flats.
-- Don Spencer of Orange, 3-1 largemouth bass (released) on a tailspin at Sierra Cove.
-- Marlon Meade of Anaheim, 3-12 rainbow trout on a Power Worm at the flats.
-- Curtis Meade of Anaheim, 3-1 steelhead on a Power Worm at the flats.
-- Chris Collin or Orange, 2-0 steelhead trolling near the dam.
-- Mitz Onizuka of Irvine, 1-9 crappie on a Manic Minnow at the flats.
Photo: Phil Hildenbrandt of Anaheim checks in a rare 8.6-pound albino cat and a 14.7 blue, caught using mackerel in the Santiago Flats. Credit: Irvine Lake
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