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Irvine Lake crappie go on a tear as trout move deeper

May 4, 2011 |  2:35 pm

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.

The summer season will see revised hours of operation. Starting June 10, the lake will be open Friday and Saturday nights until midnight; Thursday evenings until 11 p.m.; Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays until 4 p.m.; and closed on Tuesdays for the remainder of the summer.

Trout chasers did well using a variety of deep-trolling techniques during the middle of the week, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "Deep trolling is the name of the game," Getty said. "Early in the morning you can get bit by toplining, but after that you need to use 2 to 4 colors of leadcore line and work the west shore, dam, and flats areas. All the usual trolling lures are working, especially Rapalas and Needlefish."

Weekend anglers had a tougher time of it due to blustery conditions, noted Nick Sepulveda at the Pro Shop. "We have had very high wind gusts on Saturday, which forced us to pull the boats off the lake, and postpone our scheduled 'Masters Tournament'. Conditions are tough, but shore anglers are still catching some trout," said Sepulveda.

Bass anglers found their quarry in two distinct stages; spawning and post spawn. Many fish are guarding eggs or fry, and can be difficult to coax into biting. There is some action available on 1- to 5-pounders flipping the trees on the west shore and flats. One lucky angler caught and released a 10-2 bass on a spinnerbait this week.

The warming waters mean that the channel catfish bite is perking up, with mackerel or shrimp soaked at Santiago Flats yielding some 2- to 5-pound whiskerfish. The sunshine bass (hybrid stripers) are starting to boil up on shad intermittently, but are mostly all show and no go.

Anglers with children age 12 or younger found fair action on 1- to 3-pound trout in the Kids Lagoon using nightcrawler/bobber techniques. Surface temperatures in the main lake are ranging from 68 to 72 degrees, with the water level very high and holding steady.

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- Rebecca Reinhart of Irvine, 6-2 rainbow trout on a Rapala at Sierra Cove.
-- Erik Bombard of Rancho Palos Verdes, 10-2 largemouth bass (released) on a spinnerbait at the cliffs.
-- Alex Harris of Gothenberg, Sweden, 4-8 channel catfish on mackerel/shrimp at the flats.
-- Don Spencer of Garden Grove, 4-1 hybrid striped bass (released) on a crankbait at the flats.

Photo: Andy Garcia of Inglewood landed this huge 26.2-pound carp on corn in Woody's Cove. Credit: Irvine Lake

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