Urban fishermen will not have to leave their neighborhoods to try to catch trout for dinner.
Beginning this week, the Department of Fish and Game will stock four Los Angeles and Orange County urban lakes for the first time with catchable-size rainbow trout.
Downey Wilderness Park Lake, John A. Ford Park Lake in Bell Gardens, and MacArthur Park Lake near downtown Los Angeles will receive 600 trout each this week. Orange County's Ralph B. Clark Regional Park will be planted next week.
John Sunada, the DFG's urban trout coordinator, said 3,000 trout will be put into each lake this year. Plants are scheduled every two weeks through April and then another is scheduled for December.
Rainbow trout cannot survive in water warmer than 72 degrees, which means those planted in the next few weeks will either be caught or perish. Beginning in May, the same lakes will be planted with catfish, a warm-water fish.
A fishing license--costing $24.95--will be required of anyone 16 or older at the new fisheries, the DFG said.
The annual Santa Monica Bay Halibut Derby will be April 1-2 and, if the fishing remains as good as it has been, it should be an action-packed affair.
Last year's winner, George Castro of Valencia, caught a 40-pound 6-ounce halibut. Several weighing more than 30 pounds have been landed in recent weeks.
Cost is $35 a person. Proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica and Los Angeles County Natural History Museum's halibut hatchery project. Prizes include trips to Alaska and Baja California. Details: (310) 450-5131.
The Long Beach Rod and Gun Club recently honored some of its members, including Harold Brightenburg, who was voted outstanding hunter for 1994. He got enough target practice. Brightenburg was also honored for "reducing the ground squirrel population on his father's ranch at Bridgeport, Ca., by 384 with his varmint rifle."
Statistic of the week, courtesy of the IGFA: "Average price of two bite-size slices of bluefin tuna belly meat in a Japanese sushi market--$50."
BAJA FISHING--Las Vegas angler Steve Orlando is credited with catching the first swordfish of the year off Cabo San Lucas. The fish, caught after a three-hour plus fight, tipped the marina scale at 295 pounds. Striped marlin remain active, feeding primarily on live bait, and dorado from 40-50 pounds have begun to show.
FLY FISHING--Gary Tomovich will teach an introductory class at Classes Unlimited's South Pasadena campus from 6:30-9:30 p.m. March 14 and 21. Details: (213) 254-7451. . . . Downey Fly Fishers is offering a free clinic on basic skills March 18 at Wilderness Park in Downey. Details: (714) 952-3552 or (310) 425-7936.