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Recreation and Park District

Ranger Frank's Fishing Tips

Trout Fishing

A Carolina rig with treble hook, Power bait, inflated nightcrawlers (or, optimally, a combination of both) is generally the best way to catch trout at Lake Cuyamaca. Use 4 lb line and create a Carolina rig by sliding on an egg weight (1/4-1/2oz), tying on a swivel, then tying on a small 18-20" leader with a #14. #16 or #18 treble hook.  Add a ball of Power bait (try garlic scented) and  ½ of an inflated  nightcrawler. For casting or trolling, give a small floating Rapala or silver or gold shiny lures a try.

Depending on the weather, trout can feed near the shoreline or in shallow water, or retreat to the deep sections of the lake to beat the heat during the warmer months. The best time for trout fishing is February through June, with the top months being April and May.

If you are having no luck, keep your eye on any successful fishermen in your area, or ask the staff at the Tackle Shop where people have been catching and what they’ve been using.

Bass Fishing

Lake Cuyamaca is a shallow lake, so keep that in mind. We don’t have the quantity of bass that some lakes do, but our bass are generally quality size. Bass fishing is best from spring through fall. Try swim baits and jigs in the spring and fall. During the summer months, try imitation frog lures, plastic worms or top water lures. Finding some sort of structure in the lake (underwater plants, rocks, a dock) will be your best bet for bass.

Catfish Fishing

The best bait to use for channel catfish is mackerel. Try nightcrawlers for bullheads. Summer and fall are the best seasons. 10 to 20 lb test line.

Crappie Fishing

It’s best to use light gear and small lures when crappie fishing. Meal worms, crappie jigs with a slip bobber or other lures are the most productive way to catch them. Crappie are often caught around boat docks and brush piles, spring through fall.


The summer months are your best bet for bluegill. Catching them usually involves a piece of nightcrawler or a smaller worm or mealworm, a small hook, and a bobber. Fish the shallow areas that have structures, including weed beds, or fish under a shady dock.


Few fishermen set out to catch sturgeon, but if you’d like to try, use heavy gear, a large hook, and fresh fish or nightcrawlers for bait. Try the middle of the lake or one of the rock jetties.

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