There is good reason for that – 11 of the top 25 largemouth bass ever caught have come out of San Diego County reservoirs. The largest documented bass of all-time came from Escondido’s Dixon Lake and weighed 25 pounds! That fish did not qualify as the world record, despite being almost 3 pounds heavier, because it was foul hooked and not submitted for consideration.
The largemouth bass is the most popular gamefish in the United States, and San Diego is no exception. Part of what makes them so popular to anglers is that they can be found in nearly every single fresh body of water in the country, and that holds true in San Diego as well. However, they are not native to San Diego, or even California.
Largemouth bass were first stocked in California in 1891 and were from the northern-strain of largemouth bass. But in San Diego, you’ll find mostly the larger, but more finicky Florida-strain version of largemouth bass.
In 1957, Ray Boone, a Major League Baseball player and native San Diegan told Orville P (OP) Ball – a fisheries biologist who was Superintendent of the San Diego City Lakes Program – about how big the bass were in Florida, where he attended Spring Training. That planted a seed in Ball’s mind, and in 1960 OP Ball brought in roughly 20,000 Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerlings and stocked them in Upper Otay.
Drawing from Upper Otay, Ball distributed those fish to most of the other San Diego City Lakes, and the population of Florida-strain bass boomed. By 1970 San Diego was gaining worldwide acclaim for the trophy bass being caught, and the rest is history.
|Diamond Valley||14.85||November||2003||John Krumsiek|
|El Capitan||15.31||July||1975||Mark Torbet|
|Lower Otay||18.75||March||1980||Bob Eberly|
|San Vicente||18.75||February||1981||James Steurgeon|
There are several lakes in San Diego which honor lake records that were claimed without witnesses or reasonable proof. Such catches, that lack proof of the fish’s existence or size are not included in our list.