Friday, September 22 , 2017, 6:31 am | Fair 57º


Captain’s Log: Local Freshwater Trout Season Begins

My casting finger is itching and twitching. I love it when it does that because it means I’ve got a subliminal signal that it is time to get ready for fishing.

Those who know me well already know — just from the opening statement — that the adventure I’m talking about is freshwater fishing, because in saltwater I tend to use conventional reels and it is my casting thumb that itches and twitches.

So, if my finger is acting up it surely means that somewhere inside I know I’ll be using a spinning reel on freshwater, and specifically for trout, since for bass I might still use a conventional low-profile reel. Ahhh ... this fishing stuff can get complex, but it is still very simple. Gear up and head out to the lake for a great outdoor adventure.

The season opened in a big way Thursday when the first of a half-dozen trout plants was made in Lake Cachuma by Santa Barbara County (thank you, county staff!). We have 4,000 pounds of new trout in our water mixing it up and competing with our holdover trout for available food.

Next month, 4,000 more pounds of trout will be planted, and the plan is for new plants nearly every month through April when we have two plants and a major trout derby — the Neal Taylor Nature Center’s Annual Trout Derby on April 20-21. Save those dates and come prepared to fish, celebrate and maybe win. It is great fun.

Trout fishing is important to our community and drives the economies of numerous businesses and organizations, including the folks up at Lake Cachuma. In Santa Barbara, trout tackle, rods and reels, and fresh fishing line are all in place ready for the happy trouters.

“The beginning of the trout plant season is very important to our local anglers, and we are all stocked up and ready,” said Capt. Tiffany Vague, manager of the Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center at 4010-5 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, between Upper State Street and Highway 154.

The store will serve as an information hub about the trout plants and fishing. The full trout plant schedule is available at the store and also available on the store’s Facebook page by clicking here.

Santa Barbara County notes that, “During the cooler months, November through April, rainbow trout are planted in the lake. The big news this year is that the bulk of the trout plants will be triploid trout, meaning they are sterile and therefore can get to be trophy size. [Writer’s note in respect to those who have halted Department of Fish & Game trout plants due to a concern over the possibility of native wild trout trying to spawn in the streams and the river above lake Cachuma. Hopefully, planting triploid trout will help bring about a continuation of DF&G plants to augment the county plants and provide recreation and jobs.] Our main supplier for several years, Calaveras Trout out of Snelling, will be providing four plants of triploid trout and one plant of rainbow trout. Each 4,000-pound truckload of triploids from Calaveras will include several hundred pounds of trophies. Each 4,000-pound truckload of rainbows will include 500 pounds of 2-pound trout or better, with the balance of trout being at least ½-pound. In addition, we will have one plant of Nebraska Tailwalkers from Chaulk Mound Trout Ranch.”

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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