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

March 23, 2011 |  1:30 pm

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.  

A surprising number of crappie are being caught, incidentally, by trout trollers using Rapalas. The few anglers who targeted the slabsides found some nice 1-pound-class models by drifting with white Atomic Tubes at 20 feet. A handful of sunshine bass (hybrid stripers) to 8 pounds also surprised trout trollers dragging Rapalas. 

Bass anglers are finding that their quarry has started to move up to enter the spawn phase, and there are plenty of fish in pre-spawn mode as well. Good numbers of 2- to 4-pound largemouth, along with a decent mix of larger fish to over 8 pounds, highlighted the week. Bass were tallied at depths of 1 to 30 feet, using everything from jigs and plastics to crankbaits. Top spots were Rocky Point, the Red Clay Cliffs and Santiago Flats. Anglers are reminded that all bass species are strictly catch-and-release at Irvine Lake

Families with children age 12 and younger found very good numbers of 1- to 3-pound trout in the Kids Lagoon, using Berkley Mice Tails and mini jigs. Surface water temperature in the main lake ranges from 61 to 65 degrees, and the lake level is still at the spillover point. 

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- James Smelt of Garden Grove, 8-0 rainbow trout on a Yo-Zuri Minnow at mid-lake.
-- Brain Anderson of Orange, 5-6 rainbow trout on Power Bait at Woody’s Cove.
-- Andrew Apparalo of Fullerton, 5-4 rainbow trout on a Rapala at the flats.
-- Aaron Garcia of Orange, 2-1 brown trout on nightcrawlers at the flats.
-- Jonichi Nishizawa of Irvine, 8-10 largemouth bass (released) on plastics at Boat Dock Cove.
-- Whitney Curry of Silverado, 8-1 largemouth bass (released) on a crankbait at the flats.
-- Greg Sowers of Orange, 8-0 hybrid striped bass (released) on a Rapala at mid-lake.

Photo: 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. Credit: Jim Niemiec / Western Outdoor News / Irvine Lake

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