Dean Jamieson of Chula Vista caught and released a 15.5 pound largemouth bass at Lower Otay Reservoir yesterday. The fish measured 29.5″ in length and 23″ in girth.
This giant bass came almost exactly 1 year after Mike Gilbert caught a 17 lb 7 oz bass at Otay on February 16th, 2013. “I am still overwhelmed with the feeling of accomplishment, catching the fish of a lifetime,” Jamieson said.
Jamieson has been making waves recently for his prowess in the popular Open Bay Bass Tournament put on by San Diego Anglers every year in San Diego Bay. He finished third in this year’s tournament after winning it in 2013. But his angling proficiency obviously isn’t limited to catchiing sand bass in San Diego Bay.
Lower Otay has received a steady stream of planted rainbow trout courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, seeing about 400 pounds of trout stocked every couple weeks this winter. Those rainbows from the CDFW average 1/2 lb in size, not a whole lot bigger than popular trout imitating swimbaits, and perfect size for big bass food.
That stocking schedule has opened the door for these big bass anglers to target and catch bass who are both keyed in on small rainbow trout, but also rapidly putting on weight and reaching peak sizes for their age. They are also approaching the spawn, and actively trying to put on as much weight as they can to sustain them for the spawning process.
With more warm weather forecasted in San Diego, the spawn is about ready to kick off at most of the low elevation reservoirs. The surface temperature at Lower Otay has already reached the 60 degree mark, generally the point at which the fish start making a push to the banks to spawn. The window for big bass anglers to catch the bass of a lifetime is officially open; both with swimbaits and sightfishing techniques.
Look for more big bass catches out of Otay this spring. There are more anglers than ever out throwing big swimbaits, and the trout stocks have made it easy for anglers to key in on the right lakes at the right times. Lower Otay was scheduled to receive another trout plant from the CDFW this week, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet. It was likely delivered today, or will be delivered tomorrow.
Lower Otay is open on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday schedule with rental boats available all three of those days. Boat launching conditions are excellent, despite the lake being down quite a bit more than typical this time of year.