The truck backed down the boat ramp on Feb. 17 and released thousands of trout into Lake Cachuma, which now has received multiple trout plants this season.
These trout milled about briefly and then spread throughout the lake to explore and find food sources. They also found new neighbors since the lake boasts healthy populations of bass, crappie, red ear, catfish and carp.
With all of these fish of different species, Lake Cachuma is more than ready for the new fishing season. Some might laugh at that because they have been fishing Cachuma all along. There have been trout derbies and bass tournaments along with numerous days of fishing for casual enjoyment.
Most lake anglers believe trout are for eating and bass are for releasing to catch again another day. Catfish are also for eating. Some folks keep crappie, and others release them. Carp are a problem for the lake, so keeping them is encouraged.
Rainbow trout are by far the most popular cold-water sports fish in the United States and offer many people a portal to angling and nature they otherwise would not have. Stream and lake fishing for rainbow trout is often a child’s first introduction to fishing.
Anglers of every stripe seek rainbow trout in nearly every state in the union, and when they do, you know that the effects are felt in mom-and-pop businesses (such as our local Hook, Line & Sinker bait and tackle shop at 4010 Calle Real in Santa Barbara), rising right up through corporate board rooms across the nation. Truly, hatchery-raised rainbow trout are little economic engines.
Gearing up for them is relatively easy and cost effective. For shore fishing, a lake tackle pack can consist of a small, light rod and reel combo, bobbers, hooks, weights and bait (night crawlers work great). While some folks like to suspend a worm from a bobber or float it off the bottom with a worm blower and weight, others enjoy casting lures, including Kastmaster, Super Duper and Panther-Martin. Boaters can drift with a bobber out or drop down a worm partway through the water column with a small split shot. But many prefer to troll Rapala lures, Needlefish and others.
Trout put up an enjoyable fight, and they are great-tasting. On top of that, think about yourself at a gorgeous lake soaking up stunning scenery, relaxing, lowering blood pressure and raising satisfaction with life.
Lake Cachuma, on Highway 154, has camping facilities, marina facilities, rental boats and amenities, plus some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities anywhere.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.