Monday, September 25 , 2017, 10:46 am | Fair 74º


Captain’s Log: Lake Fishing for Planted Trout

Need a winter break? Venture no farther than one of the South Coast's lake recreation areas.

The fishing may be the immediate draw but you can't beat the view from the east end of Lake Cachuma.
The fishing may be the immediate draw but you can’t beat the view from the east end of Lake Cachuma. (Liz Gaspar photo)

I drove right by Lake Cachuma twice last week and had to wrestle my steering wheel to keep my car from turning in. I didn’t have the spare time either day, but I sure intend to make the trip soon and again repeatedly throughout the winter. There is some good wintertime fishing at Cachuma and nearby Ventura County lakes thanks to the highly successful and long-term trout-stocking program of the California Department of Fish & Game.

Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)
This month alone the DFG is planting enough trout to keep us happily busy for a long while. Here are some of the numbers, according to the DFG:

» Cachuma: 6,300 pounds

» Lake Casitas: 4,000 pounds

» Lake Piru: 7,200 pounds

The majority of the trout planted are “catchable-size” rainbow trout (approximately 8 to 12 inches), which are nice individual meal-size fish. They do throw some bigger one-pound trout in the mix to liven up the fishing experience. Also included are a number of fingerling trout, many of which, I suspect, become fodder for the sizable populations of bass in these lakes.

Many of these trout will not be caught this season and will grow substantially over time, meaning it is certainly possible to hook into a much larger rainbow trout at any time. Imagine the thrill of camping with the family and fishing from the shore or boat (you can haul your own boat a rent one at the lake), when suddenly a five-pound trout starts peeling line off your reel and you realize you are in for a great fight. You may be in for a great meal, too, if the fight goes your way.

The stocking program does not end after this month. Fish will continue to be stocked right throughout the cool months. Even if you’re a beginner, your chances of success are strong. Just stop by a tackle shop and take the advice of the owner regarding tackle and bait. The helpful folks at the lake concession will also aid you in catching fish yourself and how to help young folks learn to enjoy fishing.

Our area lakes — and especially Cachuma — are scenic gems surrounded by beautiful panoramas of hills and mountains chock full of flora and fauna. At Cachuma, I recommend the wildlife cruises, which offer glimpses of an amazing variety of critters. At this time of year they run special eagles cruises to enjoy a robust population of the big birds of prey. The campgrounds are inviting and there are plenty of fun and educational things for the whole family to do. Click here for more information or call 805.686.5055 for reservations.

Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a new nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need.

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