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Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Bass fishing

Irvine Lake trout congregating at Woody’s Cove in morning; crappie perk up in afternoon

Tim Blackshire of Ontario landed this 6.14  rainbow on a Shawn Jig at Woody’s Cove. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Fishing stayed interesting all day long this week at Irvine Lake, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "The trout bite way in the back of Woody’s Cove was phenomenal this week," observed Getty. "They are trying to spawn back there, and if you are good at sight fishing, you can do incredibly well. Early morning was also a good time for bank anglers along the west shore, with most of them using Power Bait or Mice Tails. Once the breeze comes up in the afternoon, the crappie fishing has also really taken off."

Getty added, "We also had a big 55-inch sturgeon caught and released. It most likely would have broken the lake record of 49.6 pounds for the species if we had weighed it."

Irvine Lake Pro Team leader Marlon Meade was hammering the crappie almost every afternoon this week. "There are a lot of crappie running from 1 to 1 3/4 pounds right now," noted Meade. "The bigger ones over 2 pounds probably won't start to show until the nighttime hours begin on June 10. Best results have been drifting at 15 to 20 feet in the mid-flats area. The bite is very good from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., using pearl-white 2-inch Berkley Rippletail Grubs with a 1/8-ounce head."

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Irvine Lake crappie going wild

Seth DuBois shows off the 1-10 crappie he caught at the flats. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

The crappie population at Irvine Lake was on full display this week, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "We have been seeing a lot of crappie limits this week," Getty said. "During our big crappie tournament, a 10-year-old boy caught the winning limit of fish, which weighed a total of 7 pounds, 8 ounces. Several other limits were filled by slabs that averaged well over a pound apiece."

Getty tipped, "Many different techniques and lures are working. Crappie are being caught by trolling, casting, and drifting. Good lures include Atomic Tubes, Gulp! Grubs, and even Rapalas."

Trout anglers scored well using two different approaches. Most trouters dropped down three to six colors of leadcore line followed by a firetiger-color CD05 Rapala or a cop car-color Luhr Jensen Needlefish. Bait dunkers soaking Power Bait also found several large schools of trout in the Woody’s Cove area.   

The annual Masters tournament was held on Sunday, with excellent action and many heartbreaking losses of big fish. Tim Blackshire of Ontario took top honors with his 5-12 rainbow; garnering a package including the coveted "Masters jacket" and trophy, an unlimited one-year pass to the lake, $1,250 in cash, and more, with a total value of nearly $10,000.

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Irvine Lake sees crappie, trout, bass on the bite

Steve Christopher of Pomona trolled a Needlefish to fool this 3-14 brown trout. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Trollers scored the lion's share of the trout this week at Irvine Lake, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "Trolling at 15 to 30 feet with  shad imitations like Needlefish or Rapalas is working pretty well," Getty said. "Shore anglers are catching trout very early in the a.m. on Mice Tails, Pinched Crawlers and Power Bait. Best areas were the west shore, near the dam, and Santiago Flats."

Crappie anglers continue to score limits using a couple of methods, reported Pro Team leader Marlon Meade. "Trollers are doing very well on the crappie using anything with a shad pattern trolled about 10 yards outside of the trees and off the cliffs," Meade said. "Drifting with Atomic Tubes at 15 feet in the same areas is also working very well for slabs up to about a pound. The fish are mostly spawned out at this point."

Bass anglers are finding fish in both pre-spawn and post-spawn conditions. Some topwater action is available early, but the mostly 2- to 7-pound largemouth are spread out at 1- to 40-foot depths, and are hitting best on various plastics and jigs.

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Irvine Lake crappie go on a tear as trout move deeper

Andy Garcia of Inglewood landed this huge 26.2 lb. carp on corn in Woody's Cove. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Crappie anglers have a lot to be happy about at Irvine Lake this week, noted Irvine Lake Pro Team leader Marlon Meade. "Drifting in 12 feet of water along the red clay cliffs has been easy limits on crappie in the 1 to 1.5 pound range," said Meade. "Best time is from about 1 to 3 p.m., and the best lures were pearl-white 2-inch Berkley Power Minnows rigged on a 1/16 ounce leadhead. The fish are in the spawn right now. We are really looking forward to the 'Crappie Classic' tournament on May 21, which will be the largest crappie tournament in the history of Southern California."

Meade added, "This week we saw two bald eagles trying to catch trout; it was a spectacular sight!"

General Manager Melanie Montoure announced that opening day of the summer catfish season will be June 10. Some 10,000 pounds of channel catfish in the 2- to 6-pound range will be stocked just before that date to supplement the substantial natural population of both channel cats and monstrous blue cats, with the lake record blue cat standing at 89 pounds.

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Irvine Lake trout and crappie active; 12-0 rainbow largest of week

Joshua Cruz of Santa Ana landed this 12-pounder with a little help from his dad, Manuel. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Both trout and crappie aficionados had plenty to smile about at Irvine Lake this week, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "The trout fishing perked back up this week, probably due to the cooler-than-average temperatures," observed Getty. "The trolling picked up along the west shore and near the dam, and the bait fishing stayed good at Woody’s Cove and the flats."

Irvine Lake Pro Team leader Marlon Meade has been hammering on the lake’s crappie population this week. "The crappie spawn is happening right now, and it’s pretty much limit-style action," Meade said. "The fish are in 10 to 14 feet of water, back up in Santiago Flats. Results are much better when the sun is shining, and drifting after 1 p.m. is the hot ticket right now.  Hottest lure has been a 2-inch pearl white Gulp! Minnow, rigged on a 1/16 ounce jighead."

Trout trollers did well with firetiger-color Rapala CD05s, brook-trout-color Jointed Rapala J05s, and chartreuse/red head Rapala XR04 X-Raps, and some anglers are dragging them on two or three colors of leadcore line. Bait dunkers scored with Berkley Mice Tails, Gulp! Pinched Crawlers and Power Bait. Most trout on the stringers ranged from 2 to 5 pounds, with a few larger specimens to 12 pounds keeping things interesting.   

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Irvine Lake crappie going wild; 13-14 rainbow tops trouting

Ed John of Tustin lands another lunker rainbow, this one weighing in at 13.14 pounds. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

The annual late April crappie explosion at Irvine Lake is going off right on time, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "The crappie bite has busted wide open," gushed Getty. "There were lots of nice fish being caught, especially at Santiago Flats, Sierra Cove, and along the west shore. Best lures are white or yellow Atomic Tubes. The little 1/32-ounce jigs were best because the fish are mostly shallow, and there are even some sight fish available."

Trout anglers found their best results fishing early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Good numbers of 2- to 4-pound rainbows were supplemented by a few of the larger specimens, ranging from 6 to 13 pounds. The trout are more focused on trolling lures right now, with firetiger-color CD5 Rapalas the top producer. Bait dunkers scored best with Mice Tails and Gulp! Pinched Crawlers.

Bass anglers found last week's torrid action had subsided slightly, but plenty of 1- to 5-pound largemouth are still available. The lake's bass population is spread out all over, with fish in pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn modes. A few fortunate anglers also found marauding schools of 4- to 8-pound wipers chasing shad at Santiago Flats.

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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.  

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Irvine Lake trouters score limits at Santiago Flats

Shawn Crawford of Tustin checked in this fat 12-pound rainbow, caught on a Kastmaster at Woody's Cove. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Midweek trout anglers are advised to head straight over to Santiago Flats, reported Nick Sepulveda at the Pro Shop. "The flats has definitely been the hotspot for the last couple of days," observed Sepulveda. "A lot of trout limits are coming from back there, but not too many of the bigger fish. Nightcrawlers are still the hottest bait."

Another very interesting phenomenon available at Irvine Lake right now is the presence of a bald eagle. Pro Team leader Marlon Meade gushed, "I was crappie fishing with my dad when a huge bald eagle swooped down and grabbed a trout less than 30 yards away from us. It was a spectacular sight; just like on the National Geographic Channel!"

The big Western Outdoor News Southern California Trout Opener tournament will be Saturday. Anglers are reminded that to fish on that day, they must be registered for the tournament. Registration is $45, and anglers can pre-register online. Late signups will be taken starting at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.    

Most trout on the stringers were in the 2- to 5-pound class, with some much nicer fish spicing things up. Top trout baits were nightcrawlers, Power Bait, Mice Tails, and Gulp! Pinched Crawlers. Trollers dragged firetiger-color CD5 Rapala Countdowns or cop-car color Luhr Jensen Needlefish. Good catches were reported from Woody’s Cove, the west shore, and especially at Santiago Flats.

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Irvine Lake roads re-open, 6-12 rainbow tops catches

Kirk Beardsley of Huntington Beach hooked this 6-1 largemouth bass at Trout Island using a 10-inch plastic worm. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Last week’s wet and stormy weather is in the rearview mirror for Irvine Lake anglers, reported general manager Melanie Montoure. "All of the lakeside roads are now completely dried out and back open," observed Montoure. "The forecast for the weekend is for excellent weather, and the fish are biting very well again."

Montoure added, "We lowered the lake level about 6 inches temporarily, but it should be back to completely full in just a few days. Underwater visibility is about 2 feet."      

Trollers dragged gold/black or firetiger-color Rapalas on two to three colors of leadcore line along the west shoreline. Shorebound bait dunkers did best at Boat Dock Cove, while boaters soaked baits at Santiago Flats.

Productive baits included red/chartreuse or white/orange Mice Tails, along with chartreuse or natural-color Gulp! Pinched Crawlers on a 12-inch leader. Bait anglers are advised to use the "crawl" technique, and keep their baits moving slowly to attract fish to the scent trail.

Crappie are still being caught incidentally by trout trollers all over the lake, while those targeting the slabsides found very good numbers of them in 20 feet of water and hitting on white Atomic Tubes.
Excellent numbers of channel catfish were caught near running creeks on cut mackerel. Bass were mostly in pre-spawn mode, but the warming temperatures should bring them surging up on the spawning beds.

Families with children age 12 and younger found good action in the Kids Lagoon on 1- to 3-pound trout, using Mice Tails and Power Bait. Surface temperatures in the main lake dipped to the mid-50s during the weekend cold snap, but is expected to increase rapidly with the warming weather.

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- Brian May of Orange, 6-12 rainbow trout on a Rapala at the west shore.
-- Gabriel DeLaCruz of Pico Rivera, 4-14 channel catfish on nightcrawlers at the west shore.
-- Kirk Beardsley of Huntington Beach, 6-1 largemouth bass (released) on 10-inch plastic worm at Trout Island.

Photo: Kirk Beardsley of Huntington Beach hooked this 6-1 largemouth bass at Trout Island using a 10-inch plastic worm. Credit: Irvine Lake

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Irvine Lake trouters score during pre-frontal conditions; bass moving up

James Smelt of Garden Grove picked the right day to go fishing at Irvine Lake, even if it was a rainy day. Smelt hooked into this 8-pound rainbow at mid-lake. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Any time the pre-frontal weather conditions moved through during the last week, it again triggered an excellent trout bite at Irvine Lake, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "We had a ton of trout in the 3- to 5-pound range this week, and the Sport Chalet tournament was a huge success," Getty observed. "During the pre-frontal periods, it is really good on everything. During the post-frontal period, the troll bite slows way down, and bait is the better choice."

Getty added, "With the rains continuing to move through, don’t forget that it takes 24 to 48 hours drying time before the lakeside roads can reopen after a storm. Be sure to call the Pro Shop [714 649-9111] for up-to-the-minute road conditions."

Favored baits this week included Gulp! Pinched Crawlers and Power Bait Mice Tails, along with traditional garlic Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Productive spots for bait dunkers included the flats and the west shoreline for boaters, with shorecasters doing best at the flats and Woody’s Cove.

Trollers stuck with the reliable Rapala Countdown CD03 and CD05 in firetiger color. Best troll locations were Santiago Flats, along the west shoreline, mid-lake and near the dam.  

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Irvine Lake sees trout to 14-2; crappie begin to stir

The largest lunker rainbow of the weekend weighed in at 14.2 lbs and was caught on Power Bait by Mike Ramos of Downey. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Anglers chasing trout on Irvine Lake this week had two distinct choices, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "Trolling is the best bet in the a.m.," observed Getty. "Once the sun gets high, move over to bait fishing. Use a 12- to 18-inch leader made of 2-pound test with bait, gradually casting out further as the day progresses."

Getty added, "Best spots for bait fishing included Woody’s Cove and Boat Dock Cove, and trollers did best along the west shore, Santiago Flats and Sierra Cove."

Most trout on the stringers were quality-grade rainbows in the 2- to 5-pound range, with a few exotics like steelhead and browns, along with some bigger rainbows to 14 pounds keeping things interesting.

Favored baits for trouters were Power Bait Mice Tails in pink/white and glow colors, regular Power Bait in garlic flavor, and Gulp! Pinched Crawlers in natural color. Most popular trolling lures were the reliable firetiger-color Rapala CD3’s and CD5’s, along with hot pink Rapala X-Rap XR06’s.   

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national survey to begin

Laying the groundwork for a day of duck hunting, Jim Fisher tosses a decoy as his dog, Willow, looks on.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin conducting its national survey of fishing, hunting and wildlife-associated recreation and are requesting that hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts participate if contacted for interviews scheduled to begin April 1.

The information, collected by the U.S. Census Bureau primarily through telephone interviews to be conducted April to June and September to October this year and January to March, 2012, provides the only comprehensive statistical database available on Americans' participation in and spending on hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching in the 50 states.

"We appreciate the anglers, hunters, birdwatchers and other citizens throughout the United States who voluntarily participate in the survey when contacted," said the wildlife service's acting director, Rowan Gould. "The survey results help wildlife and natural resource managers quantify how much Americans value wildlife resources in terms of both participation and expenditures."

The survey, conducted every five years since 1955, will involve 53,000 households from the Census Bureau's master address file. From this information, the bureau will select samples of 19,000 anglers and hunters and 10,000 wildlife watchers and follow up with further detailed questions.

"The last survey published in 2006 revealed 87.5 million Americans enjoyed some form of wildlife-related recreation and spent more than $122.3 billion pursuing their activities," said Hannibal Bolton, assistant director for the service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program. "The survey is a critical information resource for federal and state wildlife agencies, outdoor and tourist industries, local governments, planners, conservation groups, journalists and others interested in wildlife and outdoor recreation."

Participation is voluntary and all responses are confidential. Preliminary survey findings will be available in spring 2012 with final reports issued beginning in the fall, to be posted on the restoration program's Web page.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Laying the groundwork for a day of duck hunting, Jim Fisher tosses a decoy as his dog, Willow, looks on. Credit: Fred Greenslade / Reuters

 

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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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