Using a nightcrawler last May, Erin Dominguez of Trabuco Canyon set a new record with the 18.69 lb. rainbow trout she reeled in near the dam. Big Bear Marina, the official weigh station for Big Bear Lake, tells KBHR that the trout was 32 inches long with a girth of 22 inches.

Big Bear Lake, CA — With lake access, given the re-opening of the boat launch ramps on April 1st, and a break in the snowy weather, ’tis the season to fish on Big Bear Lake. With lake temperatures in the 40s, local fishing guide Cliff Fowler has been testing the waters, so to speak, and found that there were plenty of good-sized trout to be reeled in. “It’s still a little cooler than the optimal environment for trout,” Fowler, a fishing guide for Cantrell’s Fish and Guide Service, says, “so they are a little deeper in the lake right now. The water is still too cold for any other species right now, so fishermen should try to focus on trout on Big Bear Lake.” On a preliminary fishing tour this week, Fowler says that trout were caught at Sawmill Cove, Lagonita Point, in Trout Alley (between Boulder and Metcalf Bays), off Eagle Point, and near the observatory on the North Shore and, he noted, the trout aren’t tightly concentrated in any one area on Big Bear Lake. “We caught the trout on lures: silver shads, red-dot frogs, chicken wing, and CD Rapala. Each of the trout we reeled in was at least two pounds plus, which is a nice native holdover—pink meat! And this is the time of year that bait fishermen can really score well, because the fish are everywhere given current lake temps, so the trout are a lot more accessible to shore anglers. In the spring months, the fish are a lot more accustomed to natural feed entering the lake, either through tributaries or snow melt, so live bait like nightcrawlers works really well. Zeke’s Sierra Gold is also a spring favorite over the other prepared dough baits, because it stays more pliable in cold water, increasing your hook sets.” If planning to take rod and reel to the lake this weekend, know that the limit for trout is five per day per fishermen and, if you don’t yet have a license, they are available from sporting goods stores at a cost of $41.50 or $13.40 for a one-day license. For more info and tips for fishing on Big Bear Lake, Cliff Fowler returns to KBHR with Fowler’s Fish Tales, which airs daily at 8:45am and 4:45pm, starting Saturday, April 17.