Trout Fishing in Southern California Lakes
Tips for the beginning angler
By Sean Lara
Trout fishing is one of the most exciting and popular freshwater species targeted in Southern California. However, without the proper tackle and knowledge, you can end up going home with an empty stringer. This article is designed to greatly increase your chances of catching trout in Southern California lakes.
It is important to have a spinning reel rated for around 2-8 pound test, and weigh no more than 10 oz. When you purchase your reel, the specifications will be listed on the package. For example, the reel might be rated for 2-6 pound test. The package should have line ratings that look something like this:
110/2 60/4 40/6
This means that this particular reel can hold 110 yards of 2 pound test, 60 yards of 4 pound test, and 40 yards of 6 pound test When shopping for a reel, make sure you look at these line ratings, and choose the reel that best suits the pound fishing line you will be using.
**If the line ratings are not found on the package, most of the time the spool on the reel will have them.
Good reel manufactures include: Shimano, Daiwa, Penn, Okuma, and Quantum. Depending on the amount of money you are willing to spend, below are prices for appropriate trout reels to suit your budget.
AX, CX, TX, Slade
Spinstar, Sweepfire, Crossfire
Sidestab, Syncopate, Sienna
Sonora, Solstace, Sedona
Laguna, Kastor, Theory
Epixor, Metaloid, Alumina
Inspira, Aveon, VS
PTI Series: Kinetic, Catalyst, Energy
Stradic MgFA, Sustain, Stella
Team Daiwa-S Series, Certate
Choosing the right rod is also very important for successful trout fishing. Your job is to decide what you will be doing with your rod/reel setup. Will you be tossing mini jigs and small lures, or will you be primarily bait fishing? Personally, I think it is important to have two trout combos: One for bait fishing, the other for artificial fishing.
Rods have line ratings just like reels do. Make sure your rods and reels have similar line ratings. For example, if you buy a reel rated for 2-6 pound test, make sure the rod you obtain is also rated around that area. As for the length of the rod, bait rods should be anywhere from 4'-6'6" long, and jigging rods should be 6'6"-9' long.
Generally, bait rods will have Medium Power and Fast Action, while jigging rods will have Ultra Light power and Medium Action.
Still Confused? Continue reading.
Now that we understand Power and Action, lets name some popular rods. Companies such as Gloomis, Kencor, Phenix, St. Croix, Quantum, Berkley, Fenwick, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops, Shimano, and Daiwa make awesome trout rods.
Depending on the amount of money you are willing to spend, below are prices for appropriate trout rods to suit your budget.
FX, Stimula, Sojourn, Scimitar
Sweepfire, Crossfire, Strikeforce, Triforce, Spinmatic, Heartland
Bass Pro Shops:
Cherrywood, Lightning IM6
Carbomax, Clarus, Compre
Bass Pro Shops:
Extreme XPS, Bionic Blade
Avid Series, Legend Elite
Necessary Trout Tackle
An avid trout fisherman will have a large assortment of tackle such as lures, mini jigs, trout worms, other artificials, different varieties of baits, etc. In order to become a successful trout fisherman, your “Tackle Box” should contain the following:
For Nightcrawlers: Baitholder or mosquito hooks in sizes 8, 6, and 4.
For Salmon eggs: Mosquito hooks or salmon egg hooks in sizes 14, 12, and 10.
For Meal Worms and other small worms: Mosquito hooks in sizes 14, 12, 10, and 8.
For Crickets: Mosquito hooks in sizes 8 and 6.
For Dough Baits: Trebel hooks in sizes 18, 16, and 14.
For Trout Worms: Mosquito or Baitholder hooks in sizes 12, 10, and 8.
Egg Sinkers: 1/8oz-3/4oz. (Depending on situation and conditions)
Splitshot Weights: A wide variety of extremely small to pea sized.
Make sure you have ballhead leadheads from 1/64-1/8 depending on which trout worm or artificial you are using it on.
Barrel Swivels or Carolina Keepers
Fishing line should be either 2# or 4#. I would NOT recommend using any higher pound lines.
Good line manufacturers include: Berkley, Maxima, Calcutta, Sufix, Izorline and Pline.
Pliers or Hemostats
Can be as simple as scissors, toenail clippers, or pliers that have cutters on them.
Mini Jigs from 1/64oz-1/32oz sizes work best. Good colors are: White, Chartreuse, Yellow, Orange, Red/White, Orange/Yellow, Orange/Chartreuse, and more.
Trout worms such as Powerworms, Lip RipperZ, BearPaws, Case and other worms work well. Worms from 1-3in will work well. Good colors are: White, Orange, Chartreuse, Natural, Red/White, Orange/White, Pink, and many others. It's always good to carry a wide range of colors in order to give the fish "what they want".
Good lure companies include: Panther Martin, Thomas Buoyant, Super Duper, Kastmaster, and Luhr Jensen. Anywhere from 1/32-1oz spinners, spoons, rooster tails, and flat-edged lures are most productive. Any shiny color will catch fish.
Colors such as Chartreuse, Orange, Rainbow, White, and Corn Yellow work best.
Nightcrawlers, Meal Worms and Earth Worms work best for trout.
Cheese Cubes (velveeta)
Berkley, Crave, and Smelly Jelly all make great trout scents. Scents are a good thing to carry around, and they can go on anything you use for trout. Garlic, Natural, and Corn seem to have the best effects.
Fishing for Trout:
Having the proper equipment is only half of the game. Knowing how to use your tackle, which rigs to use, and applying it to different situations and fishing areas is the most important part of trout fishing.
The most popular bait fishing rig for pursuing Southern California trout is the Carolina rig. This rig consists of an egg sinker, a carolina keeper or barrel swivel, and a hook. The image below shows how to tie the Carolina rig. Refer to the hook sizes table in the “General Tackle” Section previously in the article in order to know which hook sizes to use. With this rig, you can either fish powerbait, nightcrawlers(make sure you inflate them with a worm blower), marshmallows, cheese, or salmon eggs.
When fishing from shore or on the water, cast out to the desired spot, and let it sink. When it has reached the bottom, set the pole down in your rod holder or on the side of your boat, and then make the line fairly taught. Now all you need to do is wait for a fish to strike.
*Note: When fishing from shore, make sure you use a strike indicator such as a bobber while fishing bait. It is not necessary to use one when you’re on the water.
Fishing Mini Jigs
Simply tie your mini jig directly to your line. Cast out as far as possible, and let it sink near the bottom. Then, start your retrieve. On the retrieve, you want to constantly bounce your rod tip up and down, while slowly reeling in. Like with every type of artificial fishing, vary your retrieves! It is important to keep your line fairly taught, because trout hit very subtle, and it’s easy to miss a hit. This is why it is a good idea to have an Ultra Light rod.
Fishing Trout Worms
The two most popular ways to fish a trout worm are Split Shotting and using a Lead head.
To tie a Split Shot rig, all you need is a single hook (preferably a size 10 or 8 mosquito hook) and a pea sized split shot weight. First, tie the hook on the line, and crimp the splitshot about 12"-24" feet above the hook. Then thread the hook into the trout worm.
With a leadhead, all you need to do is thread this on near the top of the worm.
Fish trout worms just like you would Mini Jigs, but remember, vary your retrieves!
This type of fishing requires little effort. Simply cast your lure, and let it sink. Then begin a steady retrieve. If you are not getting bit, let it sink at a different depth, or try reeling in faster or slower.
To me, trout fishing is the most enjoyable type of fishing there is, and limiting out on these beautiful fish is only half the experience. Being outdoors at our beautiful Southern California Lakes truly is a big treat. Hopefully this article will further increase your knowledge, and allow you to have more productive days out on the water, and create memories that will last you a lifetime.
For more information, please register on the boards atwww.hookupsportfishing.com