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Irvine Lake crappie bite warming up; 13-6 rainbow tops catches

Ed John of Tustin landed this 13.6 pound beauty on a jig in Woody's Cove. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Good news for crappie anglers came from Irvine Lake Pro Team leader Marlon Meade: "Pro Team member Brian Ray and his fishing partner got easy double limits of nice crappie trolling Frenzy crankbaits near Trout Island. Other trout trollers also caught a lot of incidental crappie. Right now they can be targeted with Atomic Tubes at 18 to 24 feet, but the rapidly warming water temperatures will put them into spawn mode very quickly."

The big crowd of anglers on hand for the Western Outdoor News Southern California Trout Opener event on Saturday found the lake had "turned over," reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "Due to some limited water clarity, the shore bite was better than the troll bite," observed Getty.  

Bait-dunking trout anglers did best with glow-color Mice Tails, and natural or chartreuse color Pinched Crawlers. Best catches came from Woody’s Cove, Trout Island and Santiago Flats. Trollers stuck with the reliable firetiger-color CD5 Rapala Countdown. Most trout on the stringers were in the 2- to 5-pound class, with a few larger units keeping things interesting.  

Bass anglers found overall good numbers of largemouth in the 2- to 6-pound range, with a few larger fish seen. Some larger models are up on the spawning beds, and a spawned-out 8-6 would have easily topped 10 pounds a few days ago. Crankbaits are scoring fish, and top locations are the Red Clay Cliffs, Rocky Point, and the west shore.

Some 2- to 4-pound channel catfish are hanging around the mouth of creeks with running water. A few sunshine bass (hybrid stripers) are starting to cruise around near Trout Island and the flats, with shad-pattern reaction baits being the lure of choice.

Families with children age 12 and younger found fair action in the Kids Lagoon on 1- to 3-pound rainbows using Mice Tails. Slabside chasers will be happy to know that the largest Crappie tournament in Southern California history will take place at Irvine Lake on May 21.  

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- Ed John of Tustin, 13-6 rainbow trout on a mini jig at Woody’s Cove.
-- Mike Alvarado of Orange, 10-9 rainbow trout on Power Bait at the flats.
-- Maurice Vandermande of Irvine, 10-2 rainbow trout on a Rapala at mid-lake.
-- Daniel Daquila of Santa Ana, 9-6 rainbow trout on a nightcrawler at Woody’s Cove.
-- Mike Abila of Orange, 4-14 steelhead on Power Bait at the Red Clay Cliffs.
-- Bob Barr of Orange, 4-4 steelhead on Power Bait at the Red Clay Cliffs.
-- Mike Yost of Fullerton, 8-6 largemouth bass (released) on a crankbait at the flats.
-- Jeff Spikovich of Huntington Beach, 6-2 largemouth bass on plastics at Sierra Cove.

Photo: Ed John of Tustin landed this 13.6 pound beauty on a jig in Woody's Cove. Credit: Irvine Lake

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