FISH REPORT – ONS – Matthews – 17 Sep 2020

FISH REPORT – ONS – Matthews – 17 Sep 2020

FISH REPORT — ONS-matthews – 17 Sep 2020 Compiled by Jim Matthews The fish report is weekly. Its accuracy depends on marina operators, tackle shops, and local fishermen we contact. Anglers catching large fish should send the information to Outdoor News Service, P.O. Box 9007, San Bernardino, CA 92427, or telephone 909-887-3444, so it can be included in this report. E-Mail messages or fishing reports can also be posted to Jim Matthews at

The fish report is copyrighted and any use or reposting of the report, or portions of the report, is prohibited without written permission.


Anglers can continue to expect restrictions at certain city, county, and state facilities. If at all possible, anglers should call ahead to make sure waters are open.

Most waters remain open to fishing, parking, and boat launching but many places still have restrictions on hours and rules on social distancing and use of masks. Most recreational accommodations (campgrounds, motels, and restaurants) have also reopened for anglers who travel to Eastern Sierra, Colorado River, or other areas to fish.

With few other recreational activities available, open waters are mobbed with anglers and recreational users, and many facilities close to boat launching on weekends because maximum lake quotas are filled by early morning.


All 18 national forests in California have been closed to ALL public access this week due to the massive forest fires burning throughout the state. This means access to all fishing area on or adjacent to national forest lands are off limits for the time being. The report tries to note where and what is closed on a water-by-water basis.


1. The entire California Aqueduct remains the top pick for both stripers and catfish action. The Antelope Valley stretch has all the fish keying on the huge schools of shad, and fresh-dipped shad are the candy bait for both stripers and catfsh here. The San Joaquin Valley stretch is good for stripers on lug or blood worms with a few on topwater. Catfish have been good on most cut baits, especially when fished in combination with nightcrawlers and scent. Most of the action is pre-dawn and at night in both areas. The day bite is much tougher. For an update on this action, check with Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield at 661-833-8657 for the San Joaquin stretch, and Amaysing Fishing in Palmdale for the Antelope Valley at 661-429-5824.

2. The Quail Lake striped bass and catfish bites have continued good, although the lake remains crowded. Stripers are showing in very good numbers with some boiling fish at dusk, through the night, and again at dawn. During those times, the topwater and rip baits are working. But most of the action has been on cut baits, especially frozen shad and the chicken liver or shrimp-nightcrawler combos. Those same baits are also working for the catfish in a good bite. The limit on stripers here is 10 fish and there is no minimum size. For an update on this action, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

3. While the U.S. Forest Service lands remain closed statewide, Crowley Lake (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) remains open to fly-fishing and the bite on big, end-of-season rainbows, cutthroats, and browns is still excellent. Most guides are strike-indicator fishing, and fish in the four-pound class are common. With the coming spawn, some bigger browns will be staging at the creek mouths and eating perch minnows. For an update on this action, call the Crowley Lake Fish Camp at 760-935-4301.



HESPERIA LAKE: Fair catfish action. Most of the cats are from 1 ½ to 2 ½ pounds, and many stringers have two to four fish that size. Plants are every week this month. For more information go to the park’s website at or Hesperia Lake’s Facebook or Instagram pages. For updates, you can also call the park at 800-521-6332 or 760-244-5951.

JESS RANCH LAKES: No report. For an update, call 760-240-1107 or go to The site also has COVID-19 protocols.

MOJAVE NARROWS: The catfish bite is slowing down, but quite a few fish are still showing even though the last plant of the season was two weeks ago. The action is best on a variety of cut baits, nightcrawlers, and dough baits. There is also a good bite on carp and small bluegill. The lake is closed Tuesday and Wednesday each week. Information, call 760-245-2226.



APOLLO PARK LAKE: Continued good action on small bluegill, warmouth, and small catfish. Some of the cats have been from two to five pounds, but mostly much smaller fish. Carp are good but most are small with a few bigger carp showing on bigger dough baits the little guys can’t eat. The carp can range from six-inches long up to four or five pounds. The bluegill and warmouth are mostly less than six-inches long, but the bite is excellent on meal worms, red worms, or nightcrawler pieces fished under a bobber close to shore or any structure. For more information on plants and events, contact Apollo Park at 661-940-7701 or Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

LAKE PALMDALE: Shrimp and stink baits are the best bet in a good catfish bite. The stink baits are fished in sponge rigs. The blacktop peninsula and Docks 25 and 26 have been hot spots with the fish mostly in deeper water. The largemouth bass are fair and showing early and late in the day all around lake and at all the docks and aggressively chasing baitfish on top. Spinnerbaits and chatter baits with the skirts doused with scent and nightcrawlers or plastics have been the best baits fishing over the tops of the weeds. The bluegill bite is fair off any of the docks on fly-lined nightcrawlers with a lot of hand-sized and bigger fish, especially at the main launch ramp. Pretty good carp action for those targeting the carp with dough baits. For more information on membership, call 661-947-2884 or e-mail The club’s Facebook page is the best source for the latest fishing and news updates.

QUAIL LAKE: Good fishing action continues here, and with so many other closures, the crowds remain. The parking lot has been full on weekends, especially early and late in the day and at night. The bite has been good on both stripers and catfish, with a lot of bluegill and largemouth showing for anglers targeting them. Top baits have been the chicken liver-nightcrawler combo, frozen shad, sardines, anchovies, or lug worms for both stripers and catfish. Stripers are also boiling so topwater is also working. They are running up to seven pounds or better, but most are still two to three pounds. The catfish are mostly three to six pounds. The bluegill have been best on nightcrawler pieces along the south shore. The largemouth bass are also showing on topwater, but spinnerbaits and jigs fished in and along the tules have been the best baits. The pond area has been a hotspot for largemouth and bigger bluegill. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT (Hesperia to Quail Lake stretch): Not much change here, with the fish are still keying on the big schools of shad cruising in the aqueduct. The bite is very good if you can dip net some shad. Without the candy bait, the action is tougher. Both the stripers and catfish are keying on the shad and the bite has been almost exclusively on dipped fresh shad, with a few on the chicken liver-nightcrawler combo. Find the shad fish are biting. Most three to five pounds of both species, but catfish to 17 pounds were reported. Top spots continue to be the weirs, bridges, and bends. But those are the best places to fish for all species. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

CENTRAL PARK LAKE (CALIFORNIA CITY): The bluegill bite is very good, and a few bass are showing on chartreuse spinnerbaits. The carp are also still pretty good on dough baits. The bluegill are small but the action on nightcrawler pieces fly-lined or fished under a bobber is wide open. The carp bite are best on dough baits. Most or small fish under three pounds, but they are showing in good numbers.

LITTLE ROCK RESERVOIR: All public U.S. Forest land around the reservoir is closed to public access because of the statewide fire emergency. The area beyond the entrance gate is now closed to all recreation, including walk-in fishing. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.

JACKSON LAKE (NEAR WRIGHTWOOD): The lake is located on the Angeles National Forest, and all forest lands are closed to all public access during the statewide fire emergency. For updated information, call Amaysing Fishing Bait & Tackle at 661-429-5824.


SILVERWOOD: The state park has remained open, even though the San Bernardino National Forest all around the lake was closed to all public access because of the fire emergency. The forest service roads around Silverwood were closed, which means no access to the east side of the lake at the dam or parking in pullouts on the west side of the lake. Only the park itself was to remain open. Anglers should, however, call ahead before driving to the lake to make sure more closures have not been added since Thursday this week. Fair to good action for stripers. The fish are showing around much of the lake but the dock, Miller Canyon, and the dam areas have been best. A few limits have been reported. Most of the action is on sardines, anchovies, or chicken liver-nightcrawler combo for bait anglers. Trolled umbrella rigs or shad-like spoons and lures fished in deeper water in the main channel are also producing. The fish are running up to six pounds, but most two to three. The catfish bite is also pretty fair on the same baits in Miller and Cleghorn Canyons and at the dam. Bluegill and crappie are fair to good, also in Miller Canyon and the coves off the main channel, on meal worms or wax worms. A slow bite on largemouth bass in Cleghorn and off points in the main channel, mostly on plastics with some jerkbait fish early. Trout have been very slow. Lake elevation was 3,349.15 on Thursday this week, up 1.95 feet from last week. Anglers should be aware of health advisories for the consumption of fish from this lake because of high PCB and mercury levels in the fish flesh and skin. Here’s the direct link to a PDF brochure explaining consumption recommendations: Dock fishing is allowed for $3 for adults, $2 for kids and seniors. Private boats must be inspected for zebra and quagga mussels. Boats with wet lower units will be turned away. Boats inspected and tagged at Diamond Valley and Perris will be allowed at Silverwood. The park is open seven days a week. Information: marina 760-389-2299, state park 760-389-2281, Silverwood Country store 760-389-2423.

BIG BEAR LAKE: Since Sept. 7 all the Forest Service roads, camping, picnic and parking areas closed. This also includes shore fishing on Big Bear Lake from access on the North Shore, much of which is on Forest Service land. The East Launch Ramp and other shore fishing areas remain open. Fishing has been slow. A few trout are showing for troll anglers fishing the Trout Triangle, but some of the fish being caught are nice quality rainbows in the two-pound class. Only a handful of trout have been reported by shore anglers, mostly at the dam. The best action has been on PowerBait, inflated nightcrawlers with garlic scent fish with a water-filled fishing float that sinks slowly and settles on top of the weed beds so the floating baits stay visible to the fish. The bass bite is fair on topwater baits most mornings and evenings. Nightcrawlers and plastics are also good bets, with some smallmouth in this bite. Catfish are best evenings and at night and most anglers are reporting using hotdogs. A warning for a harmful algal bloom (HAB) has been issued for the shoreline water in the Mallard Lagoon, Kidd Cove, and the west side of Stanfield Cutoff. Contact with the algae and water in these areas should be avoided. For more information go to this direct link: For information on fishing and closures, call Big Bear Sporting Goods at 909-866-3222 or visit the store’s Facebook page. There have been nearly daily fishing reports posted on the Big Bear Lake Fishing Facebook group page.

GREGORY LAKE: Very slow fishing. No reports. The park is open to fishing and hiking, and the parking lots are open. The restroom facilities and group recreation areas remain closed. Information at 909-338-2233.

GREEN VALLEY LAKE: No fishing reports. Due to dam renovations and repairs, the walkway across the dam is closed. The website at has stocking updates, and the Facebook page is Green Valley Lake Fishing.


CASTAIC: As of Thursday, this lake was still open, but anglers should call ahead before making the trip to the lake. The action has been pretty good for largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass, with a lof of boils. Topwater baits, rip baits, and spoons have been the best for boiling fish of all species. The black bass are also showing on Flukes and jerk bait outside of the boils, but the best action is early and late. After the sun is on the water, drop-shot plastics have been the best bet. Thomas Foster, Simi Valley, caught and released six largemouth bass to 2.3 pounds fishing drop-shot Flukes. The stripers are best on the boil on main lake points, in the Ski Arm, and at the buoy line, and shad like baits thrown in the boils has been the ticket. Some deep-water bait fish at the buoy line, too. Blake Melton, Little Rock, had a three-pound striper tossing topwater. Catfish have been best on sardines and anchovies in most coves. Some bluegill and trout continue to show, with very good bluegill in the afterbay early and late in the day on small baits like meal worms and wax worms. The trout are best at the west ramp, mostly on PowerBait in deeper waters. The lake’s surface elevation was 1,501.86 feet on Thursday this week, up 1.05 feet from last week. The lake is at 91 percent full pool. For information call the marina at 661-775-6232 ( or Tackle Express at 661-251-8700.

PYRAMID: Closed again. The statewide U.S. Forest Service closure because of a fire emergency has again closed this lake. It is likely to remain closed for two weeks or longer. The lake elevation was 2,575.47 on Thursday this week, down .11 feet from last week. The lake is at 93 percent of full pool. There is a health warning about eating fish from Pyramid Lake (except the rainbow trout). More information at this link: For updates on closures and restrictions, anglers can call: Emigrant Landing entrance booth at 661-295-7155, the boat shop at 661-294-9403, or Tackle Express at 661-251-8700.


ARIZONA FISHING REPORTS: The Arizona Game and Fish Department compiles a weekly report for most waters in the state, including the Colorado Rivers. Anglers can read the report at this direct link:

FLOW INFORMATION: Reservoir elevation levels and flow releases for the entire lower Colorado River are available at this web site with information updated hourly:


LAKE ISABELLA: Closed. The U.S. Forest Service shut down Lake Isabella and the entire upper and lower Kern River to all day use, boating, and camping due to the fire emergency across all of California last week, and that closure remains in effect. All national forest in the state have been closed. The lake surface elevation was 2,547.40 feet on Thursday this week, down just .22 feet from last week. The lake remains at 18 percent capacity. Information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or, North Fork Marina at 760-376-1812, or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or

KERN RIVER: Closed. The U.S. Forest Service shut down Lake Isabella and the entire upper and lower Kern River to all day use, boating, and camping due to the fire emergency across all of California, and that closure remains in effect. All national forest in the state have been closed. The flows are very low in both the upper and lower river. The upper river at Kernville has dropped to a trickle at 38 cfs (down 150 cfs from last week). In the lower river flow was dropped to 209 cfs, down nearly 130 cfs from last week. These flows could be problematic for trout. Information: Kern River Fly Shop 760-376-2040 or ( or Gateway Market 760-376-2424.

AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: One of a handful of open places to fish, the striper action has been good on undersize fish with an occasional keeper. The catfish bite is also still pretty good. The best action is at night or early and late in the day. The Triple S Bait has been best for the cats, but some are showing on a wide variety of cut baits and dough baits. Stripers are again showing on plastic swim baits and jerk baits, and the usual baits like blood worms, lug worms, sand worms, and sardines are still top bets. Carp are fair to good on dough baits, especially Wussy Bait. Some largemouth showing around the weeds on Senko-type baits. Anglers are reminded the limit on stripers is two fish greater than 18 inches, while the largemouth limit is five fish. Information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or or Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or

MILL CREEK PARK AND CANAL: The best action has been for bluegill with a fair to good bite early and late in the day on red worms and meal worms. The carp bite is fair on dough baits. Other species have been slow with only an occasional carp. No bass to speak of.

RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: The season of doldrums and thick smoke continues. The bluegill remain fair to good on red worms, meal worms, or wax worms. Carp are fair on dough baits. The bass action is slow with only a few on plastics, Flukes, and Brush Hawg-type lures early and late in the day. Some catfish also showing early and late in the day on cut baits. Information Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657.

HART PARK LAKE: Still smokey, but not as bad as last week. Fishing is still fair for bluegill and carp. The bluegill bite is best on wax worms, red worms, or meal worms. Carp are best on homemade dough baits, Triple S, or Wussy Bait. The bass action is slow on plastics, Senko-type baits, and topwater, mostly early and late in the day around heavy cover.

TRUXTUN LAKE: Continued air to good bluegill action on wax worms, meal worms, or red worms, especially near lily pads and other cover. The carp bite is also good on dough baits, especially Wussy Bait, and a few more catfish are showing. Bass are tough, but some are showing on drop-shot plastics, Creature baits, and topwater early and late in the day.

MING LAKE: Continued good bluegill and fair carp action early and late in the day. The bluegill are showing on wax worms or meal worms, and while the carp are best on Wussy Bait or homemade dough baits. The bass action is fair early and late in the day on plastic worms, Senkos, Brush Hawgs, and live minnows. A few catfish are also being landed on cut baits or dough baits.

BRITE LAKE: The best action has been on panfish, both bluegill and crappie, with most of the fish small, but the odd trout is still being reported, along with a few catfish and bass. The crappie and bluegill are best on small jigs tipped with meal worms or Crappie Nibbles, especially black and yellow jigs, with some float tube anglers reported hefty stringers.

BUENA VISTA LAKES: There is a fair to good bite on small catfish and bluegill amid the very smoky weather. Morning and evening are still the best times to fish. Also some decent carp action. The catfish have been best on dip baits or sardines, while the carp are showing on dough baits, especially Triple S. The bluegill are along most brushy, grassy shoreline and hitting meal worms and red worms. A few bass early in the morning on nightcrawlers or topwater fished near cover with some frog action in the tules. Fishing information: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657 or; Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or; or the park entrance gate at 661-763-1526.


SUCCESS LAKE: Thick smoke continues in the area, and anglers should call ahead to check for closures. The water continues to fall but not as dramatically as in July and August. The fishing is still pretty slow overall. There is still a fair bite for catfish on cutbaits and blood worms. A few bass are showing on topwater and reaction baits early and late in the day, on dropshot plastics after the topwater. A few bluegill are still fair on meal worms or red worms. Other species even worse. The lake elevation was 590.10 feet on Thursday this week, down just .87 feet from last week. The lake is at 9 percent capacity. Information: Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop at 661-679-6351 or

KAWEAH LAKE: Thick smoke continues in the area, and anglers should call ahead to check for closures. Water level continues fall, but not at the pace of a month ago. Fishing remains extremely difficult with only a few suspended largemouth bass showing on reaction baits early and jigging spoons or plastics in deep water. A few catfish continue to show, but the other bites are really slow. Very few bluegill or crappie reported in recent days. The lake elevation was 583.55 feet on Thursday this week, down 2.34 feet from last week. The lake is now 6 percent capacity. To reserve a rental boat, call the marina at 559-597-2526. Additional fishing information: Sierra Sporting Goods at 559-592-5212.


Top Eastern Sierra fishing report web sites are: (Bridgeport region), (Mammoth Lakes region), and (Bishop and Mammoth Lakes region).


The Department of Fish and Wildlife is again posting its trout plants again on its website at
For the week of Sept. 13-19, these are the only water no waters in Southern California, partially because of U.S. Forest Service closures statewide.
INYO: Lower Bishop Creek, Line Pine Creek, Owens River (below Tinnemaha and Section 2), Pleasant Valley Reservoir.
There will be few plants in Southern California and reduced plants in the Eastern Sierra until at least late fall or winter because of a bacterial outbreak at Mojave Narrows Fish Hatchery, Black Rock Hatchery, and Fish Springs Hatchery. The DFW has decided to destroy the 3.2 million trout at these three facilities to prevent the spread of the bacteria. The loss will impact trout plants in Southern California and the Eastern Sierra well into 2021.


For the most comprehensive and up-to-date ocean fishing available, go to


Please feel free to send your freshwater or saltwater fishing reports and fishing photos to Jim Matthews, Outdoor News Service, at and the information will be included in the weekly report. If you have questions or comments, please call Matthews at 909-887-3444.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *