Catfish Are Big Deal at Irvine Lake

Fishermen trying to beat the summer heat are doing so at night at Irvine Lake, where catfish have become the main attraction.

The lake is scheduled for the stocking of more than 1,000 pounds of catfish by July 4, but the whiskerfish are already providing some anglers with more than they can handle.

Bob Iverson of Huntington Beach managed to catch the biggest catfish of the season, a 31-pounder that grabbed a large chunk of mackerel he was using for bait.

A spokesman at the lake, which is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., said several fishermen have reported being broken off by catfish they couldn’t turn or pull out of the weeds on their light line. A long-handled net and 20-pound test is recommended.


LAKE MEAD--Striped bass active in lower basin, most fish small but some to six pounds. Larger fish biting at 45 feet. Anchovies best bet. Catfish active but small, averaging less than two pounds, biting mainly at night in coves. Daytime temperatures near 120 degrees.

BULLHEAD CITY--Striped bass active in river, biting on anchovies, averaging between two and six pounds. Trout bite fair in river, mainly on Power Bait. Catfish between two and four pounds biting in coves. Best at night.

LAKE CACHUMA--Trout active at 30-40 feet, mainly at Johnson Bay and dam. Trollers using six colors and needlefish lures. Catfish biting in shallows on mackerel. Largemouth bass slow.

LAKE CASITAS--Largemouth bass active at 10-15 feet, some taken on surface at dawn. Russ Thomas, Lancaster, 10-pound bass, caught in Station Canyon on crawfish. Mike Mochizuki, West Los Angeles, seven and nine-pound bass. Catfish in shallows. Jim Hollis, Oak View, 18-pound catfish, caught on mackerel at three feet. Mike Payne, Santa Paula, 11-pound catfish. Trout active at 40 feet. Trollers doing best, using six-colors and brass-colored needlefish. Bill Books, Ojai, three trout, two pounds apiece. Other species slow.

PYRAMID LAKE--Striped bass active near dam or channel. Anchovies best bet. David Kilby, Canoga Park, five-pound striper. Frank and Jan Dajmovic, Fullerton, two seven-pound stripers. Tim McQueen, Palmdale, two four-pound stripers. Catfish biting on anchovies and nightcrawlers, most active in marina. Bluegill active but small, biting on meal worms and small spinners throughout lake. Largemouth bass fishing fair, best in channel or around island. Trout slow.

LAKE PIRU--Trout providing most action, biting on surface. Trolling Rapalas, Kastmasters and needlefish at eight-nine colors with bikini needlefish. Face of dam and marked barrels best locations. Still, fishermen using nightcrawlers and Power Bait. Largemouth bass and catfish slow. Larry Skaggs, Lancaster, six-pound bass.

LAKE CASTAIC--Largemouth bass active on lower lake shoreline, with plastic worms and nightcrawlers producing most fish. Upper lake yielding more bass, but most weighing less than four pounds. Mike Tevere, Canyon Country, fishing from shore on the lower lake, used a Hula Popper surface plug at 8 p.m. and caught eight and 10-pound largemouths. Bluegill most active on upper lake, with small meal worms and red worms working best. Crappie active on lower lake, with fish to 1 3/4 pounds biting on mini-jigs and meal worms. Trout and catfish slow.

IRVINE LAKE--Night-fishing for catfish on the rise. Fishing at 10 feet in coves near brush most productive. Craig Reed, Brea, two catfish, 15 1/2 pounds.


PUDDINGSTONE RESERVOIR--Trout planted Tuesday, biting throughout lake in morning, moving into deep holes during day. Cheese-colored Power Bait best bet. Largemouth bass fishing fair. Steve Green, San Gabriel, 6 1/2-pound bass, taken on surface lure at south shore. Red ear perch and bluegills biting best on small meal worms and No. 10 hook. South and east shoreline best. Hal Sharp, Ontario, 20-fish stringer, caught at south shore. Catfish picking up, biting on mackerel throughout lake, best at night at north shore. Carp fishermen doing well with corn. Water 76 degrees.

BIG BEAR--Trout biting throughout lake, best on Power Bait and small spinners. Largemouth still active in shallows. Plastic worms best bet.

LAKE SILVERWOOD--Largemouth bass biting off points in channel. Louis Moten, San Bernardino, 6 1/4-pound largemouth. Jack Cole, Lancaster, four-pound largemouth. Striped bass biting in channel, also off points. Dale East, Rialto, 21-pound striper. Catfish biting mainly at dam. Jimmy Williams, San Bernardino, 15 catfish, 37 pounds, caught on chicken livers.

BISHOP AREA--Crowley: Rainbow trout between three and five pounds active throughout lake. Floating nightcrawlers best bet. Brown trout and Sacramento perch becoming increasingly active. Pleasant Valley Reservoir fishermen doing best with nightcrawlers and Power Bait. Owens River productive for fly fishermen. Sabrina: Bishop Creek Canyon fishermen reporting excellent results, catching limits of rainbow trout, browns averaging two pounds and an occasional Eastern brook. Most baits and lures working. Shore fishing best in morning and evenings near spillway and inlets. Bring mosquito repellent.


MAMMOTH LAKES--Twin and Mary lakes most productive, as planted trophy-trout from Owens River Ranch are starting to bite. Power Bait and mosquito flies working best.

JUNE LAKE LOOP--Gull and Silver lakes providing most action, with red salmon eggs and floating cheese getting best results. Trollers using four-five colors and needlefish, Triple-Teasers or Rapalas. Fishermen at Rush Creek catching some limits, getting best results on worms and small lures.

BRIDGEPORT AREA--Fishing is described as excellent at most areas. Twin Lakes: all baits working, several limits of 12-inch rainbows. Bridgeport Reservoir: Rainbows to 4 1/2 pounds and browns to three pounds biting on flies, Rapalas, blades and nightcrawlers. Virginia Lakes: Good for pan-size rainbows, biting on bait, lures and flies. West Walker River: Several limits, coming mostly on wet and dry flies and small lures.