Ready your fishing rods, load up the camping gear, pile in the kids and head to Cachuma Lake Recreation Area for rainbow trout.

“And they’re hungry,” park naturalist and public information officer Liz Gaspar said.

Each plant at Cachuma comes from Calaveras Trout Farm and will have 4,000 pounds of rainbows, with at least 500 pounds at two-pound fish (16 inch length) or better, and the balance one- to ½-pound fish (12 inch length).

“There will be five plants through the season through April 13, the day before the Neal Taylor Nature Center 17th Annual Trout Derby,” Gaspar said. “We’d really like to see people come up and take advantage of the fishing and camping. We see some fabulous weather through the winter.”

One plant was made last Friday, with others planned on the following dates, but check for schedule changes: Dec. 13, Feb. 17, March 16 and April 13.

During winter months, trout fishing is considered good from the shore or from the Mohawk Loop fishing pier and in Harvey Cove. Also, because the lake is nearly full, and because of its size and many bays, boat fishing gives anglers greater opportunity to fish otherwise inaccessible areas of the lake. Trout are being taken at 20 to 30 feet with nightcrawlers and powerbait, and by trolling with needlefish at seven or eight colors.

Cachuma Lake is open to boats from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours change with the season. Shore fishing is open 24 hours a day. A California fishing license is required for those age 16 or older. Day licenses cost $14.04, two-day costs $21.86 and the annual cost is $43.46; ID is required, and licenses can be purchased at Cachuma Lake Marina & Boat Rentals at 805.688.4040. Bait, tackle and gas are also sold.

General provisions, camping gear and gasoline are available at the Cachuma Lake Store. Park entry is $10 a day; boat entry is $13 a day. For the trout plant schedule, boating
regulations, launch requirements, current camping and general information, call 805.686.5054 or click here.

— Liz Gaspar is a park naturalist for the Santa Barbara County Parks Department.