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Irvine Lake trout keep biting; footbridge to base of Trout Island completed

Keith Smith of San Clemente trolled up this nice rainbow at the west shore. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Anglers found Irvine Lake as full as it gets this week, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "The trout kept right on biting this week, and we were able to complete the footbridge over to the base [not the point] of Trout Island," Getty said. "The fish were mostly holding right on the bottom, or up near the surface. An old-school method that was really working was the tried-and-true nightcrawler under a bobber. Trollers should stick with very bright lure colors like firetiger and flame, due to the discolored water conditions."

Getty added, "We will close the lakeside roads when they get soaked. It takes about 24 to 48 hours' drying time after the rain stops before we can reopen them. Call the Pro Shop [(714) 649-9111] for up-to-the-minute road conditions. Boat launching is no problem, and we are now allowing float tubes back out on the water."

Productive trout fishing locations included the newly accessible Trout Island, the western shoreline, the flats and Boat Dock Cove. Bait dunkers did especially well using nightcrawlers under a bobber, but the standard Power Bait and Gulp! offerings also tallied fish. The majority of trout on the stringers were rainbows in the 2- to 4-pound range.  

A few bass anglers ventured out and found decent action. Largemouth in the 2- to 7-pound range have moved up into the freshly flooded vegetation and can be found in less than 10 feet of water, hitting on reaction baits. Some fish are still on hard structure at 30 feet near the Red Clay Cliffs and Rocky Point, with Carolina-rigged plastics the tactic of choice.  

Anglers who focused on catfish were able to score limits of 2- to 5-pound whiskerfish, which is often the case during the aftermath of stormy periods. Nightcrawlers or cut mackerel soaked at Santiago Flats or where creeks are running into the lake were  productive  for catfish.

The Kids Lagoon has been inundated by the rising water, and for now has become part of the main lake. As long as this condition persists, all anglers will be permitted to fish in the Lagoon area. Due to the lake's continuing to run over the spillway, the scheduled stocking of giant 15- to 20-pound trout has been delayed until just before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- Keith Smith of San Clemente, 5-5 rainbow trout on a Wedding Ring Spinner at the western shore.
-- Nick and Misty Scamaldo of Santa Clarita, 10-trout limit totaling 25-2, on Power Bait at the flats.
-- Jack Riley, Cody Hercht and Patrick Friedman, nine trout (kids' limits) totaling 12-1, on Power Bait at Woody’s Cove.
-- Ian Esterhuizen of Newport Beach, 7-1 and 5-2 largemouth bass (released) on crankbaits at the Hump.
-- Mitz Onizuka of Irvine, 5-0 channel catfish on mackerel at the flats.

Photo: Keith Smith of San Clemente trolled up this nice rainbow at the western shore. Credit: Irvine Lake

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