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Irvine Lake catfish and crappie on the chew

July 7, 2010 |  3:01 pm

Crappie Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

The summer bite at Irvine Lake is going pretty well, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "Bass fishing slacked off a little from last week’s hot bite," Getty said. "It still goes from right at dark until about 9:30 p.m. The fish are biting jigs, big plastics, dropshot baits, and buzzbaits."

Getty continued, "The lake is chock-full of shad fry right now, which has got many of the fish stuffed beyond capacity. Once this shad bloom is over, things should really turn on. The crappie bite is still very good, and the wipers are being caught during daytime by watching for boils, and at nighttime they are biting on cut baits like chicken liver and shrimp."

Catfish anglers are finding their quarry holding very tight to cover, resulting in some large fishing getting away. At least one catfish in the 50-pound class was hooked and lost, despite the catfish specialist's tactic of using 65- or 80-pound test braided line and tying the hook directly to it. Mackerel, bonito and several commercial preparations are scoring nice stringers of eating-size cats in the 2- to 6-pound range. 

Irvine Lake Pro Team leader Marlon Meade found excellent action for crappie during the early evening hours. "We have been getting easy limits of crappie to over 2 pounds by drifting the flats between 4 and 8 p.m.," Meade noted. "Best depth has been 18 to 24 feet, and the best lures have been white Atomic Tubes or white 2-inch Gulp! Swimming Minnows. The winners of the Sport Chalet Outdoor University contest -- Neal and Jonathan Parson and Desiree Sanchez -- had a great time with me, catching a big mess of crappie on Thursday evening."

Plenty of bluegill and redear are being caught by anglers offering mealworms or Gulp! Crickets under a bobber. A few nice 2- to 3-pound trout are still being caught incidentally by crappie anglers, or targeted with deep-trolled lures. The Kids Lagoon has been kicking out increasing numbers of stocker-size catfish for families with children age 12 and younger. 

The main lake level is receding slowly, with surface temperatures in the high 70s. The road to Trout Island is open to vehicle traffic. This Friday night will feature the inaugural Crappie Classic tournament, with goodie bags and a raffle sponsored by Berkley, and lots of great cash and merchandise prizes.  

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- Brad Sampson of Anaheim, 17-6 channel catfish (released) on mackerel at the flats

-- Nico Tagaloa of Orange, 8-2 channel catfish on mackerel at boat dock cove

-- Randall Aamot of Newport Beach, 10-2 and 7-0 largemouth bass (released) on a buzzbait at Sierra Cove

-- Todd Ferguson of Villa Park, 9-0 largemouth bass (released) on a jig at crawdad point

-- Manas Malicki of Huntington Beach, five largemouth bass stringer totaling 20-2, topped by a 6-5 (all released) on a jig at the flats.

-- Diego Gamboa of San Diego, 3-8 hybrid striped bass (released) on shrimp at the flats

-- Curtis Meade of Anaheim, 2-1 crappie on Atomic Tube at the flats

Photo: Curtis Meade, of Anaheim, catches the "creme de la crappie," checking in this 2-pound whopper. Credit: Irvine Lake

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