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Irvine Lake at max water level; first stocking of 14- to 20-pound trophy rainbows go in

January 12, 2011 |  2:20 pm

Mardy Kuch of Long Beach landed this beautiful 14.14 lb. rainbow on powerbait near Boat Dock Cove. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

The water level at Irvine Lake is still as full as it can get, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "The spillway is still trickling over, but will run strongly again anytime it rains." observed Getty. "Expect the water level to be high for a long time."

Getty added, "The first batch of 14- to 20-pound trophy rainbows also went into the lake this week, and I saw one fish that was every bit of 25 pounds. All of the big ones looked good and healthy. We will have another bunch of these monster trout just before the MLK holiday weekend.

"The overall trout bite is still decent, with the 'old school' nightcrawler under a bobber trick being the best thing going right now, especially over at Woody’s Cove. The trollers have also started catching fish by sticking with very bright colors like firetiger and hot pink."

Bait dunkers soaking Power Bait did best with very bright colors, with extra garlic spray added to help the fish zero in on it in the stained water. Ditto trollers going with the brightest-possible Rapala colors, like firetiger, hot pink, and clown (chartreuse/red).

Productive bait-fishing spots included Boat Dock Cove, Trout Island, and Woody’s Cove; while trolling spots included mid-lake, Santiago Flats and along the west shoreline.   

Most of the trout on the stringers are rainbows in the 2- to 6-pound range, with an assortment of brown trout, steelhead, and larger-grade rainbows keeping things interesting. Now that the giant trout are loose in the lake, anglers are cautioned to have a big salmon-size net handy, as trying to fit a huge fish into a tiny trout net is one of the most common ways that the big one gets away.  

Bass anglers are finding moderate numbers of 2- to 5-pound largemouth at 30 feet near the Red Clay Cliffs and Rocky Point, mostly hitting on jigs and dropshot-rigged plastics. Catfish chasers can score a few 2- to 4-pound whiskerfish by soaking mackerel or nightcrawlers where water is flowing into the lake.

A pedestrian-only footbridge to the base of Trout Island is in full operation, and the road to Woody’s Cove is open to vehicles pending continuing dry weather. The Kids Lagoon has been inundated and will be part of the main lake for up to a month or more.

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- Mardy Kuch of Long Beach, 14-14 rainbow trout on Power Bait at Boat Dock Cove.
-- 11-year-old Natasha Back of Mission Viejo, 10-10 rainbow trout on a nightcrawler in the lagoon area.
-- John Grandi of Irvine, 10-6 rainbow trout on an Owner Cultiva at Trout Island.
-- Primo Bautista of Long Beach, 4-2 steelhead on a nightcrawler at the west shore.
-- Eduardo Tsuneshige of Irvine, 3-2 steelhead on a Power Mouse at Boat Dock Cove.
-- Adam Baker of Costa Mesa, 4-3 largemouth bass (released) on a jig at the Red Clay Cliffs.
-- Mitz Onizuka of Irvine, 3-8 channel catfish on mackerel at the flats.
-- Danny Jackson of Yorba Linda, 3-1 hybrid striped bass (released) on mackerel at the flats.

Photo: Mardy Kuch of Long Beach landed this beautiful 14.14 lb. rainbow on powerbait near Boat Dock Cove. Credit: Irvine Lake

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