Fishing for trout at Whale Rock Reservoir was far from spectacular this year. That is, unless you compare the figures with yesteryear. Then, it was sensational.
The top two anglers, Jeremy Harkins and Jeff Minkler, individually accounted for more catches than the total take for the year just a few years back.
Harkins harvested 41 trout, 27 on PowerBait and 14 on worms. Minkler preferred using worms for bait. He scored 33 times, 32 with worms and once with PowerBait.
A turnout of 958 anglers went home with 192 rainbows. Only twice during the 30-week (148-day) season were the fishermen denied.
Things began to turn around in 2011 when 130 fish were caught by a turnout of 442 anglers. Gary Collier was the leader with 36 fish, while Joe Reynolds had 34.
In 2012, 124 rainbows were taken by 681 fishermen. Jace Zavala was the leader with 21.
Thumbing through my archives revealed that as late as 2009 and 2010, the take at Whale Rock was miniscule. A mere 28 trout were caught in 2009 by a turnout of 380 anglers. Collier was the most successful visitor to the watering hole, catching seven fish.
There were 17 weeks when no fish were caught.
In 2010, Collier again set the pace with eight of the 34 fish taken. That year, there were 13 weeks when fishermen were blanked. Participants totaled 296.
With the season in the Sierras now closed, trout seekers need to visit Cachuma Lake where the Calavaras Trout Farm has made its first 4,000-pound trout plant of the season. Fishing has been very productive.
Robert Davis of Paso Robles captured big-fish honors last week with the catch of a 15-pound sheephead. No doubt the catch delighted other passengers who, in all probability, may not have seen this species which is uncommon north of Pt. Conception. Coloring of males is distinctive —— white chin, blackish head, red eye, midsection usually red or pinkish to dusky red; rear of body blackish.
Other jackpot winners were: Jose Sanchez, Shafter, 14-0 ling,Carson Kerbey, San Diego, and Lou Souza, Tulare, both 11-0 lings, Bob Archibald, Valley Center, 9-0 ling, and Ron Harber, Arroyo Grande, 6-0 ling.
Bakersfield’s Greg Veach landed a 19-pound lingcod Saturday for the big fish of the week. Regular fishing is planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $69. Thirty-seven patrons on two trips last week caught 23 lings, 100 red rockcod and 270 assorted rockfish.
For reservations and more information, call 771-5500 or go to www.morrobaylanding.com.
Port San Luis Boatyard
While only 50 boats were dispatched last week, the 109 lingcod harvested between Nov. 11-17 ranked as the 13th-best weekly harvest of the year. The 47 brought in Nov. 17 was the year’s seventh-best single day. No fish were weighed, thus no Whopper of the Week.
Ryan Codorniz reported rockcod limits were posted four days, half limits twice and three-quarter limits once.
Pismo Beach angler Keith Bow had last week’s heaviest jackpot fish, a 20-pound, 7-ounce lingcod. The catch enabled him to move into first place in the fourth and final segment of Patriot’s ninth-annual Lingcod Derby.
Also winning jackpots were Lawrence Li, Arcadia, 13-12 ling, Gilbert Alcantar, Santa Maria, Mark Moreno, Grover Beach, and Chris Hill, Santa Barbara, all 10-0 lings, and Frank Ainley, Three Rivers, 8-0 ling.
Popular combo rockcod and Crab trips from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. are scheduled for Friday and Tuesday for $74 apiece. Patriot will be closed Thanksgiving.
For a complete schedule and reservations, call 595-7200 or go to www.patriot sportfishing.com.
Santa Margarita Lake
The main launch ramp near the marina store is barely operational. Marina manager Don Lopez is hoping for rain. He says Rat-L-Traps are working for bass, while mackerel and anchovy triggers catfish bites. Anglers are few.
Many anglers reported limits or near limits of trout last week. Quality Calaveras Trout Farm planters were caught from the surface to 10 feet deep at the west end of the lake. Shore fishermen used nightcrawlers and PowerBait around the marina and Harvey’s Cove with mixed results. The catfish bite is still going strong in the backs of shallow coves such as Cachuma Bay and Santa Cruz Bay. Cut mackerel and dough balls were the top baits.