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Chasing the rainbow trout in Diamond Valley Lake

May 9, 2008 | 12:54 pm

Trout_only_please

Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet, widely known for its trophy-sized largemouth bass, has developed into a unique rainbow trout fishery, reports The Times' Pete Thomas in his "On the Outdoors" column:

Thousands of holdover rainbows -- hatchery-born fish that were stocked in recent years and have since become wild -- thrive in a reservoir 4.5 miles long, two miles wide and nearly 250 feet deep.

Diamond Valley Lake, only 8 years old, is the largest freshwater reservoir in Southern California. Its cool depths enable trout to remain active year-round.

The larger specimens have attained predatory characteristics similar to those of largemouth and striped bass, and from late May through July are often located with those predators, pursuing shad.

"A lot of guys don't realize that these are top-line predators too," says Bob Caffey, a flooring contractor whose alter ego as a fisherman is "Trout Only," as he reels in another two-pounder.

Caffey and fellow fisherman Barry Ogawa tell Thomas in his column about their preparations for the May 17 Spring Smackdown, a derby open to children and adults benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Southwest. Open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.,  the smackdown is a festival-type event with food, drinks and a raffle, and three fishing divisions: kids, adult boaters and adult shoreline. Cost is $35 for adults and $10 for children. More information is available at (951) 926-7201.

-- Francisco Vara-Orta

Photo: Pete Thomas / Los Angeles Times

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