CASTAIC LAKE--How's this for a striped bass haul? Guide Erik Stepanek, with his father, Bill, and friend, Ray Merrill, used live shad to catch 23 stripers totaling 300 pounds, the largest a 17-pounder. Live shad is the key here. Largemouth bass are biting throughout the upper lake. Sam Amormino and Ed Puente, Los Angeles, caught 58 bass in a day, the largest a four-pounder, on plastic worms. Top bass, a 10-pounder by Richard Nelson, Lake View Terrace, on a crawdad. A good trout bite is in progress on the lower lake, with yellow and orange Power Bait accounting for most limits.
LAKE PIRU--Trout fishing has actually picked up, even though it is mid-June. Drifting with night crawlers or Power Bait has been effective for fish averaging one-two pounds. Bass, crappie and catfish, which should be active now, are not. All of this, of course, is being blamed on El Nino and the absence of summer weather.
PYRAMID LAKE--Striped bass fishing is steady and the fish are big. A 27-pounder--the heaviest of the year--was caught on a sardine near the dam. Most limits are being caught on anchovies fished on the bottom. Bluegills and crappie also have begun to feed heartily. Red worms, mealworms and mini-jigs are all producing.
LAKE CACHUMA--Trout remain the best bet, with trollers using Needlefish getting periodic strikes and reeling in rainbows from up to four pounds. Rapalas are getting some too. Red-ear perch are being caught in fairly large numbers, mostly on red worms.
LAKE CASITAS--Very few bass over 10 pounds, but lots of smaller fish are being caught on plastic worms and crawdads. Trout are still cooperating, with trollers fishing Needlefish and Rapalas in the middle of the lake and near the dam getting fish to about four pounds. Catfish bite remains steady, with mackerel producing the best catches.
SANTA ANA RIVER LAKES/CORONA LAKE--A $50,000 tagged-fish contest is under way at both lakes, which means crowds that might hamper the bite. Otherwise, fishing for catfish has been great. If you're in the derby, try mackerel soaked in Hog Wild. Some trout are being caught as well. Corona also has a decent crappie bite going.
IRVINE LAKE--Recently stocked brown trout are showing occasionally at the cleaning station, but not at the weigh station, where all anyone cares about are the lunker rainbows, which are still showing occasionally. The biggest was a 13-pounder by Dan Barton, Rancho Santa Margarita, on an unspecified bait. Catfish season opens June 19. Expect heavy plants beforehand.
LAGUNA NIGUEL LAKE--Catfish, catfish and more catfish. OK, and a few bass. The cats are in the shallows, biting on mackerel and night crawlers. The bass are sporadically striking crankbaits, especially in the afternoon.
OSO RESERVOIR--Lots of bass being caught by fly and conventional fishermen. Double-digit catches are common, but the bigger fish are line shy. Top bass, a 5 1/2-pounder by Patrick Gutman, Corona, on a crankbait at south shore.
SILVERWOOD LAKE--Largemouth bass remain fairly active, biting at 12 feet off rocky areas and bushes. Try spinnerbaits, plastic worms or night crawlers. A 6 3/4-pounder was caught on a night crawler. Lots of trout are being caught too, mostly by trollers using Rapalas and Kastmasters near the dam.
LAKE PERRIS--Dwayne Brisco, Ontario, 7 1/2-pound largemouth bass, on a waterdog in the marina area. Lots of smaller bass biting on plastic worms at the east end. Bluegill are also biting at the east end. Greg Moore and Greg Mobley, Long Beach, 40 bluegill, on crickets and night crawlers at the east end. Trout limits fairly common, with trollers using Needlefish and Kastmaster along buoy line doing best.
LAKE SKINNER--Striped bass are deep, but biting on anchovies early in the morning, especially at the dam and inlet. Average weight is four to seven pounds. Catfish action is picking up, with most fish caught at the dam on chicken livers or mackerel. Some largemouth bass. Try casting spinnerbaits along the south shore. Top catch, a stringer of catfish totaling 60 pounds by Don Sonora, Los Alamitos, who used mackerel.
BIG BEAR LAKE--Trout are still the main fare, with Power Bait and trolled lures getting mostly small fish but some to five pounds, holdovers from the May Trout Classic. Largemouth bass are beginning to show signs of a spring bite, even though it's almost summer. They're starting to move into the shallows and taking plastic worms and crankbaits.
GREEN VALLEY LAKE--The Southland's only lake with Alpers-raised rainbows so popular in the Eastern Sierra is not disappointing many people. Top trout, a 5 1/2-pounder on Sierra Gold. Lots of fish in the two-four-pound range. A kids' derby is scheduled for June 20. Details: (909) 867-2009.
SAN DIEGO CITY LAKES--Otay Lake anglers caught 3,203 bluegill this past week. San Vicente anglers were close, catching 2,791. Best bass bite is in progress at Hodges, but a 14-pounder was caught at Sutherland by Dave Hallman, Ramona, on a waterdog. Crappie are biting at Hodges. The trout bites at Miramar and Murray are all but history.
EASTERN SIERRA--There remains so much snow in the Mammoth Lakes area that the Chamber of Commerce had to postpone its $10,000 trout derby scheduled for June 20-28. No new date has been announced. Below Mammoth, Crowley Lake is offering great fishing for rainbows averaging one-two pounds. Needlefish, Rapalas, night crawlers and Power Bait are all getting fish. Convict Lake is producing some limits of small fish and an occasional Alpers rainbow in the five-pound range. Owens River caddis hatches are in progress and trout are striking woolly buggers and matukas. June Lake is the best bet on the June Loop, but Gull, Silver and Grant are producing steady fishing as well. Try trolling Needlefish and Rapalas. Bridgeport Reservoir remains the best bet in that region, with limits of rainbows to four pounds common.
The Times accepts and publishes the catch count as a public service. Any responsibility for accuracy is that of the landing operator.
MORRO BAY (Virg's Landing)--40 anglers (2 boats): 1 lingcod, 195 red rockcod, 210 rockcod, 185 rockfish.
AVILA BEACH (Avila Beach Sportfishing)--14 anglers (1 boat): 51 red rockcod, 154 rockcod, 1 lingcod. (Patriot Sportfishing)--19 anglers (1 boat): 95 red rockcod, 190 bolina, 4 lingcod, 1 sole.
SANTA BARBARA (Sea Landing)--27 anglers (2 boats): 57 calico bass, 8 sand bass, 1 halibut, 5 whitefish, 143 rockfish.
VENTURA--9 anglers (1 boat): 12 rockfish, 18 sculpin, 1 sheephead, 1 whitefish. (Harbor Village)--11 anglers (1 boat): 15 calico bass, 22 barracuda, 2 sculpin, 1 halibut.
OXNARD (Cisco's)--59 anglers (5 boats): 77 albacore, 3 whitefish, 5 sheephead, 62 sculpin, 100 rockfish, 5 red snapper, 3 lingcod, 4 halibut, 91 calico bass, 37 barracuda. (Gold Coast)--14 anglers (1 boat): 1 bonito, 38 red snapper, 55 rockfish, 10 sculpin, 12 sole.
PORT HUENEME--11 anglers (1 boat): 42 barracuda, 5 rockfish, 1 halibut, 5 sculpin, 1 whitefish.
MARINA DEL REY--113 anglers (6 boats): 5 yellowtail, 1 halibut, 160 barracuda, 25 calico bass, 143 sand bass, 25 sculpin, 1 sheephead.
REDONDO BEACH--78 anglers (5 boats): 100 yellowtail, 10 bonito, 51 calico bass, 43 sand bass, 392 barracuda, 1 halibut, 8 albacore, 4 bluefin tuna, 2 sculpin, 1 cabezon.
SAN PEDRO (L.A. Harbor Sportfishing)--71 anglers (4 boats): 42 yellowtail, 637 barracuda, 76 calico bass, 42 sand bass, 21 sculpin. (22nd St. Landing)--41 anglers (5 boats): 24 albacore, 6 yellowtail, 66 calico bass, 214 barracuda, 6 sand bass. (Fish 4 Less)--21 anglers (1 boat): 160 barracuda, 15 sand bass, 4 halibut.
LONG BEACH (Sportfishing/Berth 55)--47 anglers (2 boats): 4 calico bass, 7 sand bass, 450 barracuda, 6 sculpin. (Marina Sportfishing)--46 anglers (3 boats): 383 barracuda, 24 calico bass, 2 sand bass, 2 halibut, 1 sheephead, 7 sculpin, 5 rockfish. (Pierpoint Landing)--33 anglers (4 boats): 17 albacore, 2 sand bass, 270 barracuda.
SEAL BEACH--18 anglers (2 boats): 172 barracuda, 9 sand bass.
NEWPORT BEACH (Newport Landing)--63 anglers (5 boats): 41 albacore, 3 yellowtail, 194 barracuda, 102 calico bass, 25 sand bass, 20 bonito, 41 mackerel, 1 sculpin, 1 rockfish. (Davey's Locker)--130 anglers (8 boats): 63 albacore, 2 yellowtail, 10 bonito, 454 barracuda, 78 calico bass, 33 sand bass, 21 sculpin, 22 rockfish.
DANA WHARF--141 anglers (8 boats): 98 albacore, 4 yellowtail, 11 barracuda, 136 calico bass, 30 sand bass, 58 mackerel, 1 cabezon, 3 rockfish, 2 sculpin, 2 sheephead.
OCEANSIDE--119 anglers (7 boats): 57 albacore, 1 barracuda, 247 calico bass, 88 sand bass, 3 sculpin, 4 sheephead, 8 whitefish, 1 cabezon, 21 mackerel.
SAN DIEGO (H&M; Landing, Fisherman's, Point Loma)--124 anglers (7 boats): 138 albacore, 25 blue fin tuna, 9 yellowtail. (Seaforth)--127 anglers (7 boats): 40 albacore, 1 bluefin tuna, 121 yellowtail, 39 bonito, 34 barracuda, 1 sand bass, 1 mako shark. (Islandia)--64 anglers (3 boats): 59 yellowtail, 18 barracuda, 12 bonito.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY--Bouquet Canyon Creek, Jackson Lake, San Gabriel River (East, West and North forks). ORANGE--Trabuco Creek. RIVERSIDE--Fulmor Lake. SAN BERNARDINO--Big Bear Lake, Mill Creek, Miller Canyon Creek, Santa Ana River, Santa Ana River (South Fork). SANTA BARBARA--Davy Brown Creek, Lion Canyon Creek, Manzana Creek, Santa Ynez River. INYO--Baker Creek, Big Pine Creek, Bishop Creek (Lower, Middle, South Fork and Intake II), Cottonwood Creek, Georges Creek, Goodale Creek, Independence Creek, Lone Pine Creek, Owens River (Laws Bridge downstream to Steward Lane and below Tinnemaha), Pine Creek, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Shepards Creek, Taboose Creek, Tinnemaha Creek, Tuttle Creek. MONO--Bridgeport Reservoir, Buckeye Creek, Convict Lake, Glass Creek, Grant Lake, Green Creek, Gull Lake, June Lake, Lee Vining Creek, Little Walker River, Lundy Lake, Mill Creek, Owens River (Benton Crossing), Robinson Creek, Rock Creek (Paradise Camp to Tom's Place, Tom's Place upstream to Rock Creek Lake), Rush Creek, Silver Lake, Swauger Creek, Trumble Lake, Twin Lakes Bridgeport, Virginia Creek, Virginia Lakes, Walker River (Chris Flat campground to town of Walker, Leavitt Meadows campground to Sonora Bridge).
LOS ANGELES COUNTY--Alondra Park Lake, Downey Wilderness Park Lake, John Ford Park Lake, La Mirada Park Lake, Magic Johnson Park Lake, Peck Road Park Lake, Puddingstone Reservoir.