Irvine Lake catfish continue to chew; hybrid stripers popping up
Catfish season is well underway at Irvine Lake, reported general manager Dave Noyes. “The night bite on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays has been best for catfish”, reported Noyes. “It starts up around 6:00 PM, and then just gets better from there. We are seeing lots of prime eating-size catfish in the 2 to 6 pound class, and of course there are much larger ones in the lake.”
Top tempters for the whiskerfish were fresh-cut mackerel or bonito, fished at about 15 feet. No sinker at all is the recommended rigging, with the smallest possible weight being correct if a sinker must be used.
Plenty of crappie were caught by night-time anglers who set out a floating lantern and allow the food chain to develop. Slabs to 2 pounds were hitting on white Atomic Tubes or white 2-inch Gulp! Swimming Minnows rigged on a tiny leadhead.
Some nice 2 to 3-pound rainbow trout are still being caught by deep trollers using leadcore line or downriggers. A few anglers have also been soaking nightcrawlers deep for near-limits of trout.
Bass anglers are finding good numbers of 2 to 4-pound largemouth, along with a sprinkling of lunkers to over 9 pounds. Best results are being found on jigs and plastics at 10 to 20 feet along brushy areas, or at the red clay cliffs and Rocky Point. Some topwater action on bass was available right at dusk, and anglers skilled at flipping are finding good numbers of fish in the flooded trees and vegetation.
Locating a ball of shad being worked over by the hybrids stripers [aka sunshine bass or wipers] almost guarantees hot action. When the fish are located, almost anything resembling a shad will draw a strike, with Rapalas the most common choice. Anglers are reminded that all bass species must be released at Irvine Lake.
Excellent numbers of bluegill and redear are being caught in shallow brushy areas by anglers using waxworms, mealworms, or the new Gulp! Crickets under a bobber.
The Kids Lagoon is back in operation, and received a 500-pound stocking of catfish last week. An influx of bluegill, crappie, and bass likely also entered the Lagoon during the time it was connected to the main lake. The road to Trout Island is still partially under water, but is expected to re-emerge sometime in mid-July.
The lake is open until 11:00 PM on Thursdays; until Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and closed on Tuesdays for the rest of the summer.
Outstanding catches of the week at Irvine Lake included:
Johnny Avila of Artesia, 13.2 rainbow trout on a black/gold Rapala while trolling at the dam
Ted Gervais of Vista, 6-12 channel catfish on mackerel near the dam
Elaine Dickerhoof of Artesia, 6-2 channel catfish on mackerel at the flats
Mitz Onizuka of Anaheim, 4-2 hybrid striped bass [released] on a Rapala at the flats
Hubert Zimara of Orange, 3-1 rainbow trout on a Rapala at the flats
John Bittiny of Westminster, 9-1 largemouth bass [released] flipping plastics at the flats
Don Spencer of Orange, 4-3 largemouth bass [released] on plastics at Rocky Point