Monday, June 18 , 2018, 10:36 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Captain’s Log: Trout Plants Begin and Fishing Is Hot at Cachuma Lake

Cachuma Lake is a wonderful place for a day trip or autumn camping trip, but when the trout -tocking program kicks in, the overall allure ratchets up appreciably. Sure, the water level is low and we have to hike a little ways down to the water, but the rewards are so worthwhile.

The county got permits for two trout plants totaling 8,000 pounds and the first 4,000-pound batch was released earlier this month. It consisted of varied-size fish from half-pound “catchables” to 8-pound trophies.

All are triploids which means they cannot reproduce and instead put their energy into growing rapidly. These are fun fish to catch and they taste great, as most members of the salmonid family do.

With good food sources in the lake, the trout will be foraging along the shoreline before exploring the deeper parts. There is a respectable number of holdover trout from the spring plantings and those fish have had time to put on weight and find all the best spots in the lake, giving anglers opportunities throughout the body of water.

Folks can cast baits or work lures along the shoreline, rent a boat or pontoon to go explore, or launch their kayaks to work hard-to-reach areas.

Those tasty trout are not the only fish in the lake, which has sustainable populations of large-mouth and small-mouth bass, red ear perch, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Some of the smaller stocked trout do end up as dinner for the larger bass in the lake which helps us maintain a trophy bass fishery.

Don’t worry about the rumors of a freshwater great white shark in the lake — that myth is just to keep swimmers out of our drinking water.

The other half of the permitted stock is expected to occur late in the year or early in 2017. We expect more trout to be planted before the Fishing Derby in April, which means the lake will be full of fun for the year ahead.

Get your game on early with an autumn trip to Cachuma Lake and make plans for more visits to fish, camp, hike and — we hope — watch the water level rise during the rainy season.

Before you head to Cachuma Lake, stop by Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara to gear up and get the latest scoop on fishing. While at the lake, be sure to visit the Nature Center and find out what you need to know about the springtime fishing derby.

— 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. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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