1. Clear Lake
Covering 43,663 acres, Clear Lake is California’s largest inland lake, with most of its shore lined with docks, pilings, piers and other man-made, fish-attracting structures. Tules, large boulders, submerged brush, hydrilla and other vegetation also contribute to providing outstanding cover, making this an excellent lake for landing trophy-sized largemouth bass.
* Fishidy Tip for Clear Lake:
“Pay particular attention to newly emergent weed beds in Clear Lake. Rapalas, Rogues and Rat-L-Traps erratically ripped through the water will produce. Later, in March, April or May when the fish spawn, fishermen throw Slug-Gos, Git Zits and free-falling lizards.”
2. Castaic Lake
Largemouth bass are the fish of choice here. Castaic Lake has produced a number of line class record fish and one bass just a few ounces under the world record.
* Fishidy Tip for Castaic Lake:
“Texas and drop-shot rigs are favorite approaches that allow anglers to reach largemouth both deep (often 20 to 30 feet), and shallow around shorelines. Plastic worms should be 3 to 5-inches in length during early spring and 5 to 7-inches during late spring, summer and fall. The most productive colors are purple, cinnamon and pumpkin. Slowly work your presentations near drop-offs and gravel slides from shallow to deeper water.”
3. Lake Isabella
Even though Lake Isabella has lots of bass and big bass too, local experts believe they don’t get fished much because they are hard to catch. However, the amount of thick cover, such as submerged willow trees, brush and rock crevices, provide bass with ample protection and many locals believe this lake contains potential world record largemouth.
* Fishidy Tip for Lake Isabella:
“Angler must use heavy line to have a remote chance at bringing a bass to the net. Crankbaits, such as shad-colored Fat Raps and Rat-L-Traps trigger bass strikes. Two standard baits – the jig n’ pig and plastic worm are other local favorites. Many anglers use 1/4 to 1/2-ounce dark-colored jigs tipped with Uncle Josh pork.”
4. Casitas Lake
Bass on Casitas Lake are sought at two distinct levels – normal and trophy. Big bass in Casitas feed on seasonally stocked rainbow trout and grow to monster proportions on this protein-rich forage. Their behavior is much more wary than typical size largemouth.
* Fishidy Tip for Casitas Lake:
“Anglers casting plugs that look and act like trout stand a good chance of cashing in on this phenomena. Casters should fish the deep water sides of extended points and humps. Trophy largemouth position at strategic ambush points and await trout to swim over the shallow side of points or around the hump. Retrieve trout-imitating lures, such as Arbogast’s A.C., so they swim in the path rainbows use.”
5. Lake Camanche
A drought during the last decade stimulated considerable tree and brush growth along the present underwater shoreline of Lake Camanche. This contrasts sharply with the smooth bottom of the main lake. Anglers have to fish each section as distinct bodies of water.
* Fishidy Tip for Lake Camanche:
“As bass migrate to pre-spawn staging areas from the bottom of creek channels to the shallow flats where they spawn, anglers should retrieve spinnerbaits and crankbaits slowly. Spinnerbaits with a No. 2 to 4 willowleaf blade work best at slow speeds. Smoke and white/chartreuse are good spring colors.”
6. Bullards Bar
Bullards Bar broke its own record for spotted bass on more than one occasion this year, topping out with 10.8 lbs worth of behemoth caught by Cody Meyer. The man made reservoir was once known for pleasure boaters and houseboats, and is now one of the biggest hog factories in the state.
* Fishidy Tip for Bullards Bar:
“Use your electronics to find these fish. The monsters suspend around this lake and you can drop subtle finesse presentations like wacky rigged stick baits right on their head to trigger strikes.”