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GREAT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LAKES TO CATCH FISH.
Lake Hemet sits at 4340 feet in the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains. Hemet is a long, narrow lake and covers around 450 surface acres. This is my all-time favorite lake to camp & fish for trout. About a 2-hour drive from LA and Orange County well known for great trout fishing this lake doesn’t disappoint. I have personally fished and camped at this lake for over 40 years and it has never disappointed me. Check out the February 2021 Western Outdoors News article on Lake Hemet fishing below. Other fish you can catch are Bluegill, Catfish, and Bass but trout is the real prize at this lake. Trout can be caught all year round here. Tent sites are close to the water so you have a great view of the lake right from your campsite. Cabins and Glamping Tents available to rent inside the campground for a fair price. There is a water park for those hot summer days in front of camp 5 to help you cool off. There isn’t a lot of shade so be sure to bring a canopy for shade. Another awesome feature of this lake is they have a market and little cafe since the lake is home to many residents.
My Favorite lake never fails me. We were slow getting out of the house, but arrived Friday April 30th, 2021 around 11 a.m. The Marina and Camp #2 were both crowded, but having fished this lake my whole life I knew we could catch fish in front of camp #7. We didn’t actually get a line in the water till around 12 noon, my wife and I caught five fish in less than two hours with the largest being 1.5lb. You can see in the picture above, we had the whole shoreline to ourself and that was great since we had our two dogs. It was windy so we set up a canopy with a wall to block the wind for us. We had an arsenal of bait, but Berkley Chartreuse Power bait seemed to be the hot ticket. My wife and I ran 2lb test P-Line on both our reels. We had such great success both of us hooked us at the same time. My Okuma setup performed super, operated very smoothly, I plan to buy a bigger one for the back bay I loved it so much. I was able to get great casts using 2lb test and a taller 6’6′ rod. I would most defiantly recommend this setup for shoreline anglers. My new Diawa set up also performed above my expectations. Saturday and Sunday are always more crowded, so if you plan on fishing the campground area arrive early.
This beautiful Okuma C-10 Ceymar reel along with this Okuma Celilo 6’6 Ultralight Rod performed awesomely at Hemet Lake. With 2lb P-Line on this, I was able to achieve some really great casts. I can’t tell you how awesome it was to hook up with this ultralight setup. Trout breaking water, my drag screaming what a kick! This setup performed better than I could have hoped for a great quality rod and reel and not for hundreds of dollars. Click on any of the images to go directly to Amazon for more information and more reviews
The other setup we used is this Diawa Reel along with the 7′ Shakespeare Ulta Lite Pole. Just like the Okuma above, I would recommend this setup to any angler. The reel performed excellently cast very smooth and retrieval was great. Both the Okuma and Diawa are well known for their quality and great price points.
Another popular Southern California family fun destination with great fishing, Big Bear Lake. Not just for snowboarding, skiing, and playing in the snow Big Bear is also a great lake for water sports and fishing. Surrounded by beautiful pine trees in the San Bernardino Mountains this 2971 acre lake sits at 6752ft. Trout are very popular to fish for here starting around spring and continuing through summer into Fall. Big Bear Lake has its 50,000 trout tournament on June 12th & 13th, 2021 where five tagged trout worth $10,000 each is released the day before the tournament. Imagine catching a $10,000 trout, it could happen. Other fish like Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Black Crappie, and Bluegill can also be caught depending on the time of year. Big Bear Maria has Pontoon boats, fishing boats, wave runners, kayaks & Paddleboards for rent. Located about two hours from Los Angles and Orange County the lake isn’t too far for a day trip. There are plenty of choices for logging at Big Bear if you would like to stay, there are campgrounds, cabins, and hotels. For more information about Big Bear and the 50,000 Trout Tournament click the link.
Diamond Valley Lake one of Southern California’s best fishing lakes for Bass. This reservoir covers 4500 acres & stretches 4.5 miles in length, 2 miles in width. The lake is primarily a Bass Fishing Lake and is world-renowned for its Black Bass. Large & Small-Mouth Bass, Striped Bass, Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, Rainbow Trout, Lightning Trout, Bluegill, and Redear Sunfish can all be caught in this lake. Most recently April 6th, 2021 3500 lbs of Mt. Lassen Rainbow & 500 lbs of Lightning Trout were stocked in the lake. In a lake this size you there’s some Massive Lunkers just is waiting to be caught. Thanks to the great location in Hemet, CA you catch fish all year round, and traveling here is easy. Check with the marina before you visit the lake to see what’s hot and what the best fishing is at the time of your visit. Boat rentals are available at the marina and shoreline fishing is also available. For more information on fishing, fees, rentals, and more, visit the marina web site by clicking the link. https://dvmarina.com/
We rented a fishing boat twice at Diamond Valley for Trout once in March and again the weekend after their April 6th stocking. We didn’t catch any either trip and seen no one actually catching any trout. There were lots of shore anglers fishing for trout and few boats as well. Fishing the shoreline isn’t easy uneven, rough terrain makes it impossible for elderly or disabled people who may have difficulties walking to find a spot to fish. There are many species of fish here, but finding them in a lake this size is a challenge. One local Angler told me any trout under 2lb is candy for the Bass. There is no doubt big fish in this lake including Trout. However, knowing where to find them is challenging. We will target the bass on our next trip here. If Trout are your target fish I would recommend traveling up to Lake Hemet. We will be checking out Lake Hemet Trout fishing in May.
Family Fun in the sun at Silverwood Lake. This popular 976 Acre Lake is one of Southern California’s favorite summer destinations. Great for fishing Silverwood also offers a variety of amenities for the family to enjoy. This lake is known for producing large stripper bass 55.8 lbs was the CA State record at the time and caught in March of 1996. Silverwood also offers great fishing for Trout (lake record 12.4lb), Largemouth Bass (lake record 17lb), Channel Catfish (lake record 17lb), crappie, and more. Fish in the morning and play in the afternoon. Rentals for Kayaking, Paddleboards, Fishing Boats, Jet Skis, and more available at the marina. Camping or just visiting for the day this place is awesome. Easy to get to from LA and Orange County, just off the 15 freeway, 11 miles east from Highway 138. Catfish and Trout get regular stockings depending on the time of year. Campsites are nice and have some privacy from neighboring campers. Some have grass fields behind the campsites for activities. Silverwood lake is a superb destination for the family, but being as popular as it is campsites fill up quickly so don’t wait to reserve your campsite February and March are not too early to get your reservation in. For more information on park hours, fees and more click the link to https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=650