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World Class Bass Fisheries in Jeopardy


WRB
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Both lakes Casitas and Castiac once considered world record bass potential producing lakes are in trouble.

Lake Casitas during the 2023 season can’t produce more the 2 bass caught by any one team this year with winning tournament weights under 3 lbs. no more then 3 teams have caught more then 1 Bass this year.

Lake Castiac is similar, except showing some improvement in the fall with a few limits of 5 bass weighing under 8 lbs. 

What happened??? No one knows for sure?

Tom

 

 

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  • Global Moderator

The answer there is almost always going to be habitat, which can be altered by droughts and floods. Also I’m guessing the lack of stocked trout hasn’t helped 

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  • Super User

The quality of the rain run off water that fills Casitas was poor containing Fire Check chemicals used to fight several fires burning the water shed over the past 10 years. No question that has a major impact. However all the other fish species are healthy and population exploded plus a vey good recruitment class of 6”-8” bass. It’s adult size bass that have disappeared.

Castiac gets it’s water from both rain runoff and from Northern Cal via the Feather River canal system. The stripe bass population had doubled this year and the LMB recruitment class looks good but like Casitas the adults size bass are hard to find or catch.

Both lakes the primary bait fish are Threadfin Shad and they are plentiful.

Both lakes need electro shock surveys and the 2024 spawn cycle should expose the adult bass populations.

It’s a mystery!

Tom 

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  • Super User

I find it ironic and tragic as a big Bass fan that all the places that are capable of growing a 25lb FLGM fish are either trying to destroy, or already have destroyed the Bass fisheries.

 

1.) SoCal-  Gov't and environmental conditions killed the greatest big Bass producer in history.

 

2.) Lake Biwa, Japan-  Gov't policies and fishing pressure has significantly diminished the lake however just yesterday I watched a video from a local and owner of Signal baits that he saw a fish on bed last year that was a WR.    

 

3.) South Africa, a number of "Dams"- Same as Japan, deemed an invasive species and every fish is culled.  

 

To my knowledge sadly FL, TX, nor Mexico has the true climate to produce 20lb+ fish, but an outlier could always spring up from those places, and at least in TX, and FL they have a friendly Gov't towards Bass policies.   

 

Guatemala is another country that had the potential but ended up doing the same thing as the above places deeming them invasive species.   

 

 

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  • Super User

Texas is heads and shoulders higher in bass management then any other State, California has zero bass management.

Tom 

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They did at one point… DVL (Diamond Valley Reservoir) was a prime example, and Mike Guisti did a masterful job of putting together a world-class fishery.

 

Castaic was always a sh*tshow, due to the constant drawdowns and refills, and it always boggled my mind how it could have such a healthy population of big bass given the constant temperature fluctuations.

 

Casitas was my home away from home - spent a lot of time there prior to the quagga fiasco with the wife and our motorhome. For anyone who isn’t familiar, go check out Big Bait Posse on YouTube, or some of Orso Dave’s (RIP) videos he posted (roberdave on YouTube).

 

To see how far Casitas has been mismanaged just breaks my heart… they had a recent tournament where NO ONE weighed in a legal bass… unheard of.

 

That is one of the reasons I am no longer a resident of Commiefornia.

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it's interesting that the north and central bodies of water are not going through the same problem. Here in the Valley, we have full lakes, healthy population of fish and even brought back a lake, Tulare Lake. 

I wonder if this is only So-Cal lakes. Any issues up at Clear or the Delta?  

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The Delta is fire, consistent at least, but it takes skill and knowledge.  i flounder around and do okay..  i dont love their plant-life mitigation policy, but i understand why they do it.  

 

i have my secret haunts.  fun  places, pristine.  

 

0% chance that this doenst become a chit-on-CA, thread.  :D

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Lack of consistent trout plants the past 5+ years definitely decreased the prevalence of DD bass in many norcal highland reservoirs, but there are still a lot of good bass to be caught. Clear Lake was also strange this year with the lack of grass... rumor is the powers that be overdid it when killing the weeds. No idea what's happening down in socal, but in CA it's a safe bet it has something to do with mismanagement by people who are not vested in the fisheries.

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they pelleted the weeds in Clearlake.  StatePark is usually a jungle by late spring and full of FAT BASS.  this time it was weedless.  sandy clean bottom.    any grass I did find was brown.

 

I asked and they said the dock owners complained enough they dumped in a pelleted herbicide.  

 

good times.  

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^gotta love that……… not………..

a good many dock owners give us all a bad name 😂 

 

maybe I should plant aquatic veg around my dock, start a trend 

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  • Solution

Didn't the water in California rise by 20+ feet in most of their big bass lakes? I'd think that would have at least *some* effect on the density of populations everywhere just from a geometry perspective. 

I do sometimes wish I had been born in time for the heyday of this activity, the stories about castaic/casitas and fork in the 70s/80s/90s are things I will never experience. Texas does a good job of managing the bass genetics here but we have issues imo - it's not any one single issue that kills giant potential in texas, but rather a team of problems that all pretty much stem from ignorance or a lack of research

the only piece I really get annoyed with is the totally clown-shoes, jokerman-font nonexistent levels of bag limit enforcement down here. When there are enough people, they are part of the habitat

I digress

I'm gonna say it's the rise in water + poor quality runoff + what sounds like a total lack of management causing the disappearance of big bass at casitas/castaic. But I'm also just some guy who is up way too late

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