An Irvine Lake limit of trout weighing in at 14 pounds, 10 ounces
Friend of the magazine, and regular California Sportsman contributor, Steve Carson, wrote up this report on Irvine Lake. The popular Orange County trout fishery held its fall opener on Nov. 1. (Photos Courtesy of Irvine Lake)
IRVINE LAKE REPORT
By Steve Carson
Irvine Lake west shore sizzles for trout opener, big browns and rainbows highlight catches
Trout season arrived with a bang at Irvine Lake this past weekend, with the lakes west shore area being a particular hotspot. The wide-open action held up for all four days of opening weekend, and even on Sunday afternoon, Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop reported, “It’s [the trout bite] still very good right now. There is some very good action first thing in the morning, but the bite perks up again when the sun hits the water, and late morning from 9 AM to about 10:30 AM has been the best overall time. The majority of the fish have been beautiful Merced River rainbows from Calaveras Trout Farm in the 2 to 3 pound class.”
Getty added, “We stocked over 20,000 pounds of trout for the opener, including several batches of trophy grade brown trout from 8 to 12 pounds, and huge rainbows from 8 to 18 pounds. There are still a lot of those big fish left in the lake, and we will be stocking another 5,000 pounds later this week, and then again every week all winter long!”
Opening day itself saw many anglers limiting out early, and numerous “second limit”, and even some “third limit” passes were sold. Typical of the early-limit catchers was 2012 Masters qualifier Johnny Navarro of Fullerton, who used a chartreuse Power Egg/worm combination, with a 12-inch leader of 2-pound test at the west shore, making relatively short casts of about 20 feet.
Also limiting out before 9 AM with a stringer that included a nice brook trout was 16-year old Chris Pihl of Huntington Beach, who used garlic PowerBait on a 4-pound test leader that was 18 inches long.
The Ana clan of Trabuco brought a spectacular catch to the cleaning tables at 10 AM; double-limits for four anglers- a total 40 nice trout in the 2 to 4-pound range. The group used white Power Trout Worms and garlic Power Bait in Boat Dock Cove for the bulging stringer.
Limiting out at 10:30 AM from his float tube, 13-year old Chris Azpetia of Chino fooled his stringer-full of 2 to 4-pound rainbows with dropshot-rigged orange Power Trout Worms off the west shore. “I’ve been coming to the trout opener here for 3 years; I love catching fish at Irvine Lake”, beamed Chris proudly.
Trollers also did very well, with the west shore outside the buoy lines, along the dam restriction lines, and especially mid-lake being hotspots for trollers. The standout trolling lure was a size 4 Flicker Shad in hot pink, with honorable mention going to the same lure in firetiger. Slow trolling speeds were important, and going too fast kept the otherwise eager fish off the lures.
Expert troller Mike Meredith of Huntington Beach dragged Flicker Shads in pink and clown colors along the Red Clay Cliffs and Rocky Point for an easy limit, and tipped, “Troll slowly; I got all of my fish trolling at just .08 to 1.2 mph.”
John Struckman of Fullerton also trolled up a heavy limit that included a dandy 8-5 rainbow. “I was using size 4 Flicker Shads in rainbow color on 6-pound line”, advised Struckman.
Families with children age 12 and under found good numbers of stocker-size rainbows in the Kids Lagoon using PowerBait. Surface temperature on the main lake was 62-64 degrees, with underwater visibility rated very clear.
Outstanding catches of the week at Irvine Lake included:
Billy Cohill of Fullerton, 11-4 rainbow trout on a nightcrawler at the west shore
Craig Adkinson of Orange, 9-2 rainbow trout on a Power Trout Worm at the west shore
John Struckman of Fullerton, 8-5 rainbow trout on Flicker Shad at mid-lake
Nick Silva of Orange, 8-1 brown trout on a Lip Ripper at the west shore
Jimmy Sheldon of Orange, 8-1 brown trout on a Kastmaster at the west shore
7-year old Blake Thomasen of Westminster, 6-6 brown trout on a Power Trout Worm at the west shore
Tom Lawrence of Lake Havasu, 8-2 steelhead on a homemade lure at the west shore
Chris Pihl of Huntington Beach, 2-8 brook trout on PowerBait at the west shore
14-year old Alexa Kadota of San Pedro, 7-1 channel catfish on PowerBait at the west shore
James Ana of Trabuco, 1-3 bluegill on a mini jig at mid-lake
Follow Irvine Lake on Facebook, on the web at IrvineLake.net or call 714-649-9111
Another limit of Irvine Lake rainbows
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