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Captain’s Log: Trout Active as Lake Cachuma Rises

After a discussion with Kenny, the marina manager at Lake Cachuma, Capt. Tiffany Vague at Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara said, “The lake came up better than 10 feet from the big storm. Trout plants are in the works, and those silvery beauties sure seem to be hungry. We’re getting reports at the tackle shop of good stringers of fish and some really big fish, up to 12 pounds.”

Shore anglers caught many of their fish by casting and retrieving lures, or using a night crawler on a Carolina rig or hanging down below a bobber.

There didn’t seem to be any direct correlation between technique and either size or number of fish, which simply means the fish are really hungry and quite plentiful.

April will be the big month, with two trout plants and a renowned annual trout derby. Information on the derby will be available at Hook, Line & Sinker at 4010 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

There are many other lakes and ponds in our area, and now we won’t have to refer to fishing these spots as “the huddle at the puddle.” Lakes with campgrounds are readying for the camping season, and it should be a great one. Sure, the lakes are still way below capacity, and we are hoping for another gully-washer, a wet spring or perhaps one of those prolonged wet summer storms.

With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasting an El Niño event next year, complete with a wet winter, we may (keeping fingers crossed) have an opportunity to fill and spill our reservoirs. If so, we can talk again about trying to give steelhead the river habitat needed to bring them back to abundance.

I, for one, would love to see a well-managed trophy steelhead fishery in our local rivers. Accomplishing that would mean great habitat that gets what it needs, healthy populations of fish and critters who depend upon them, and it would mean a healthy boost to our tourism and fishing industries.

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

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