Robert Daoud broke the lake (and county) record for wipers today at Lake Jennings with an 8 lb 2 oz fish. The previous record was held by Joe Labonte, who caught a 6 lb 2 oz wiper in July 27th of 2014.
Daoud reported seeing this fish cruising in a small school with two others in Sentry Cove. The fish died before it could be released.
Wipers are a hybrid of striped and white bass. Jennings is the only lake in San Diego County which houses these aggressive, but elusive fish. The lake was stocked only once with them, on July 31st of 2013. That fish plant included approximately 1,000 of them, each measuring between 8 and 12″ in length.
Hugh Marx, the Lake Jennings Supervising Ranger back then (he has since passed), estimated that those fish would reach 4 to 7 pounds by their third year in the lake – which would be July of this year. So Daoud’s fish means that these wipers are out-growing Marx’ projection.
Because they are hybridized, they are also sterile, meaning they cannot reproduce. When the initial 1,000 fish are gone, they’re gone unless Jennings applies for another permit to stock them, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife approved the application as it did in 2013.
Despite growing quicker than expected, the installation of wipers in Jennings hasn’t quite lived up to Marx’ expectations for them. He wanted wipers in the lake to give people something “easy” to catch in the summer months when trout are long gone, and the largemouth bass are suspended in deep water and difficult for many anglers to catch. They had a reputation of being aggressive, easily caught, and especially susceptible to anglers who troll.
The wipers have turned into an even more difficult quarry, and they spend a good portion of the year in those same deep waters that the largemouth occupy in the warmest months – where they’re equally difficult to catch. Additionally, they seem to school up on bait fish in the area of the lake around the intake tower, which is off limits to fishing.
Only a handful of them have been reported caught, we see a couple per year pop up either in fish reports submitted by Lake Jennings – or fish reports submitted “off the books” on our message forums, and even some sent in by text or email asking to be kept confidential.
So it’s likely the majority of the 1,000 fish stocked initially are still in the reservoir, and apparently they’re eating well. They are expected to reach a max size of about 12 pounds, so it’s likely we’ll see this new lake record fall at some point before the wiper fishery “dries up” at Lake Jennings.
Have an opinion on the wipers at Lake Jennings, or this catch in particular? Share your thoughts on our forum in this dedicated thread about the topic.