Is there a Record Fish in Lake Isabella?
I had a rare opportunity to go boating with my two oldest granddaughters. It has been a few years since my wife and I have been able to spend time with Belle, 17, and Reagan, 15. I use the term boating instead of fishing because with the girls it’s 98% swimming and 2% fishing.
My day started off a little rough. I managed to bury my truck and trailer tires in the quicksand at the camp 9 launch. Fortunately a Good Samaritan crappie fisherman was there to pull me out. As I was having a little humble pie on the launch ramp, I noticed three kayak fishermen with stringers of crappie.
I was told by one of the fishermen that it was a real hot early morning bite. It was around 10:00 o’clock when we tried to launch. The kayak fisherman were pulling out at that time with stringers of fish. The bite was good between 5:30 and 7:30 in about 15 feet of water.
Getting two teenagers up at 4:00 would have been an impossible dream. We had to settle for a mid-day slow bite. It’s OK, it was about no cell phones and family time.
The algae bloom is in full swing so we needed to search for clean swimming water. The middle of the north fork to the main dam seemed to be the cleanest.
We swam most of the day. We had a great lunch at Red’s Marina. Now it was time for grandpa to fish. I had heard reports of some nice bass being caught around Piney Point. Using a plastic worm I had a good hit so I swung and missed. Came up with a half a worm. The girls looked at grandpa with some skepticism. Fish or a rock? I replied, “That was probably a record fish.”
The question then came up, “Is there a record fish in Lake Isabella?” I think our best shot at a record was for largemouth bass back in the 80’s. After stocking Florida strain bass in the early 70’s, the bass seemed to peak in size in the early 80’s. Three bass over 18 pounds were caught. I really thought we had a record bass of 22lbs 4oz in our lake in the mid 80’s. Some dry years came around and the monster bass numbers went down.
Of course the old story of deep water divers spotting huge catfish hanging around the outtake pipe around main damn will get an angler thinking record. It is a classic old story. A 200 lb. man saying the catfish in these deep waters were as big as he is. I have seen a 50lb cat caught out of Lake Isabella.
Most catfish fishermen I know like to fish for numbers of decent sized cats to clean and eat. If an angler tried targeting huge cats in deep water I believe some records would fall. Instead of using a piece of mackerel, try using the whole fish using heavy salt water gear. This may be the ticket for a monster cat.
I have caught some huge crappie while fishing for bass. Fish over 2 lbs. are pretty common in Lake Isabella. Crappie are prolific spawners and are very easy to catch. If a crappie can live to be over 10 years old escaping fishing pressure, it would be a huge fish. Is there a record six pounder in Lake Isabella? A fish almost 4lbs has been caught. I think it is out there.
Back in the sixties a 22lb plus German Brown trout was caught on the upper Kern. That is a huge fish. To the best of my knowledge there has not been a fish close to that weight caught since. The upper Kern is one of the most heavily fished rivers in the state.
There are still some hard-to-reach spots above the bridge in the special use zone. I wonder what fish could be lurking in a deep undercut into the bank of the river. Most anglers throw ultralight tackle in these waters. What would happen if an angler threw some large deep running lures in these waters, barbless hooks of course.
The question still stands. Grandpa do you believe there is a record fish to be caught in Lake Isabella or the Kern River? You bet I do, that’s why I love to fish these waters. See you on the water.