In a new feature, SDFish.com will be publishing a weekly recap called “this week in San Diego fishing” which will cover upcoming events, outlooks on the week’s fishing opportunities, and other need-to-know things from the current week.
With a relatively stable week of weather, and more of the same forecasted, the lakes are settling back into normal conditions for this time of year. If you’re a bass angler that means post-spawn conditions, and even some lakes completely out of the spawning cycle. Reaction baits like jerkbaits, crankbaits, topwaters and spinnerbaits are producing bites along the shoreline in the mornings and evenings while the middle of day sees fish sliding out to deeper cover.
Bass are still looking up though at a lot of the lakes as shad are spawning or starting to school up in bait balls. This is a time of year where you’ll see bass doing a lot of different things, and caught a lot of different ways.
Bass are still spawning at a few of the lakes in town though, even Lower Otay which typically by May would have been completely done with the spawn. Lake Morena is right in the middle of its traditional spawn, and Lake Cuyamaca is reporting bass on beds.
Trout fishing is pretty much officially done at almost every lake. Cuyamaca will see trout throughout the year. Morena will have trout available for a few more weeks.
Catfish season is upon us. Catfish are biting at almost every lake in the county. Several lakes have begun their annual catfish plants, like Santee Lakes and Lake Jennings. Others are going to be starting their plants in June. Blue catfish at the bigger lakes (like Lower Otay) are going to be joining the bass and taking advantage of the shad to fatten up.
Hot Freshwater Bites
Barrett Lake recorded the best fish counts of the season so far (which started in May) at 4,295 bass caught and released among 241 anglers for the 3 days it was open. The shad spawn bite that we’ve talked about the last couple weeks dried up at Barrett for the most part, but that meant more consistent fishing throughout the day as the bass weren’t stuffed full from a morning feeding frenzy. Averaging over 17 bass per angler, Barrett and it’s aggressive northern strain largemouth bass are still the top bass bite in town.
Lower Otay bass fishing is really good right now though, as one of the healthiest and most stable lakes in town is delivering bass in several different stages. There are bass schooling on shad, and being caught on topwaters, other bass flooding the backs of the tules and being caught flipping, and others in the middle of their spawn.
Lake Morena failed to deliver a reported 10 pounder this last week, but it’s likely there were unreported fish caught in that weight class. An 8.5 pounder was tops in their latest fish report. Still the best spot in the county to get a giant bass right now.
There are all kinds of fish around right now with the warmer than usual winter this year. Local boats are catching mostly yellowtail, but running into the occasional bluefin and even yellowfin tuna. Weather conditions are dictating a lot of the dock totals, when the boats are able to get out there, they’re catching fish. Most of the yellowtail action for 3/4 day boats is at the Coronado Islands on yellowtail up to about 30 pounds. There is also action on birds and kelp paddies around the 9 mile bank and even closer.
1/2 day boats are targeting bass, bottom fish, and yellowtail within inshore waters.
Hot Saltwater Bites
Fish counts are up and down, some days it’s wide open and others it’s a scratch. That’s the name of the game. The fishing is still extremely good. A flurry of action over the weekend had some 3/4 day boats averaging 80 yellowtail over the weekend, but then missing on Monday and Tuesday.
The hot bite the last couple days has been yellowtail around the 9 mile bank. Both birds and fish are crashing bait schools in that area, so find the birds, find the fish. Many boats headed to the islands are stopping on kelps and birds along the way and hanging yellows. Another strong yellowtail bite exists off Mission Beach.
1/2 day boats are experiencing VERY GOOD fishing for rockfish right now. If you’re looking for some good eating fish, hop on one of the local 1/2 days and load up on fish taco meat.
White seabass are around, but very few are talking about it. If you’re a white seabass angler, now is a good time to get out and make an exploratory trip – you might be pleased with the results. Don’t wait for an invitation in the mail, it won’t come until it’s too late.
The biggest tidal swings for San Diego are predicted for the weekend. A high of over 6 feet is predicted just before midnight on Sunday evening.
Grunion are not predicted to run this week. They’re supposed to be running next week though, and anglers will be permitted to take them as the closed, observation only period expires at the end of May.
Scheduled Fish Plants
- 5/29 – Santee Lakes – channel catfish
Dates are “week of” and not necessarily the actual date stocked. See all future and past scheduled fish stocks at San Diego fish plants.
Special Schedules and Notices
- The Kiwanis Club is hosting a fishing derby at Lake Murray on Saturday
Freshwater Bass Tournaments
- 5/30 – SD Team Series at Lake Hodges (expect heavy boat traffic, 40-60 teams expected)
Club Tournaments (posted as advisories for increased activity)
- 5/30 – San Diego Strokers Bass Club at Lake Murray
- 5/31 – Road Rangers Bass Club at Lower Otay