Lake Castaic Fishing
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Castaic Lake Fishing: What's So Special About This California Waterway?


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Here's what you need to know about California's Castaic Lake.

When you think of Los Angeles County in the state of California, you may think about the Lakers, the Rams, or Hollywood. However, the fact is that one of the best bass fishing lakes in the nation exists here. Castaic Lake is full of big, hungry fish that just want to tear up your bait and ruin your tackle, but you're not going to let that happen are you?

According to the Castaic Lake Recreation Area, "Castaic Lake is the largest state water project reservoir in Southern California, and contains over 11,200 total acres of parkland and open space habitat."

Amazingly enough: "Castaic Lake has two bodies of water. Lower lake is for non-power boating and canoeing. Swimming season on lower lake runs from mid-May to mid-September. Upper lake is for sailing, power boating, water and jet skiing, and fishing. The lake is stocked with bass, trout and catfish."

And when the authorities stocked the lake with fresh rainbow trout fingerlings? Many game fish fattened to sizes not seen there previously. The lake record for Striped Bass shot up to 43 pounds, and so many largemouth bass have been caught exceeding the 19-pound mark that bass anglers have come to expect them.

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Castaic Lake Fishing Report

This man-made reservoir is located just North of the city of Santa Clarita, in northwest Los Angeles County. Driving access is a simple and convenient drive from the Interstate 5 Freeway and just over 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Who would have guessed such an awesome fishery was so accessible from the concrete jungle?

In any case, Castaic Lake is approximately 2,230 surface acres at full capacity and sits at an elevation of 1,500 feet. It is surrounded by the Castaic Lake State Recreation area and is open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

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The lake has two boat launch facilities available with a nominal fee of just over $10. There are also rental boats for less than $100 per day, but skiing and jet-skiing are only allowed on the upper lake in the west arm only. The lower lake (considered the Lagoon) is restricted to trolling motor-powered boats only. We dig it, a place to enjoy our angling without being buzzed by high-speed watercraft constantly. 

Primarily known for its incredible largemouth bass fishing, Castaic Lake also hosts a variety of other gamefish such as rainbow trout, crappie, catfish, and striped bass. Three of the top five largemouth bass of all time came from Castaic and seven of the top 25 of all time were caught here, firmly cementing the lake's place in fishing history.

Castaic Lake Bass Fishing

While certain areas of the lake can get quite busy with boat traffic, other areas are meant more for recreational fishing and other calm water activities such as canoeing and kayaking. The fact is that Castaic Lake might not seem like it has these kinds of amazing fishing opportunities, but it does. Just to whet your appetites, here are a few of the lake records:

Largemouth Bass

  •   21 pounds, 12 ounces, caught by Michael Arujo March 5, 1991
  •   22 pounds, 1 ounce, caught by Bob Crupi, March 1991
  •   21 pounds, caught by Bob Crupi, March 1990
  •   19 pounds, 3 ounces, caught by Butch Brown, March 2008

Striped Bass

  •   43 pounds, 1 ounce, caught by Robert Flaata, February 2004.

Channel Catfish

  •   47 pounds, 8 ounces, caught by Robert Flaata, September 2006

How to catch fish on Castaic.

Shallow crankbaits that imitate crawfish, spinnerbaits, jig and pig combos, soft plastics such as grub or worms, and anything that imitates the shad population all work well most of the year on Castaic. However, what the locals will tell you is that when the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) stock the lake with rainbow trout fingerings during the fall and winter months, the largemouth and striper bite goes through the roof. 

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As we've all seen over the years, this lake is where adventurous anglers began to build and use some of the first huge swimbaits. We're talking baits upwards of eight or nine inches long. Anglers began using rainbow trout patterns to match the hatch, and the big bass catches came in spades. It is said that when the DFG plants trout in the lake it can be a feeding frenzy like no other, but trout aficionados don't fret- there are plenty of trout in the lake below the dam.

Ardent bass anglers who know the lake will often try such well-known areas as Government Cove, the waters off Sharon's Rest, Suicide Point, and around C-Point just to name a few. There are many good bait and tackle shops around the area and top-notch guide services to rely on for fishermen new to the area. Getting in on some of the best bass fishing nationwide can be yours for a phone call.

The Last Word

Some say that the next world record bass will come from Castaic and they may be right about that. Any water that has produced more than one largemouth bass over the 20-pound mark is worth a second look. Getting on the water here from one of the main launch ramps is as easy as getting there, but to make it out onto the main lake you should consider a reputable guide service.

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Boat rentals can be had for anyone with the desire to get in on the action for any of the great fish species in Castaic. You just need to do some homework before you go. Castaic Lake has some of the best bass fishing in the world, but try not to forget about the stripers, catfish, and trout.

You may not think that any lake so close to the city of Los Angeles could be such a good fishing destination, but Castaic Lake is one and it's more than earned its reputation. It just goes to show appearances can truly be deceiving. 

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NEXT: STRIPED BASS: ALL ABOUT THE SPECIES AND HOW TO CATCH IT

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