Anyone looking to go out and bring in the "big one" needs a seasoned guide that knows the lake. Aaron Armstrong of Big Bear Charter Fishing, http://www.bigbearfishing.com/ and http://www.bigbearbassfishing.com/, runs a top notch charter fishing boating out of Holloway's Marina. He'll easily accommidate groups of up to eight people on his charter boat or four people on his new 2006 Z21 Ranger Comanche Bass fishing boat.
Aaron's love of fishing that is apparent through his knowledgable conversation about fishing and the lake. He advises, "when fishing every 15-20 minutes try something different, [a different lure, bait, depth or casting method]." If that fails after about an hour, try another location. A good guide, should be able to help any fishing party find the right spot. Ultimately, Aaron reminds people to keep the line in the water. A lot of fishing trips become overly social and people end up with their polls in the water only a third of the time.
One of the few Southern California lakes to receive rainbow trout plants by the California Department of Fish & Game (DFG), Big Bear Lake is a first-rate trout fishery because its depths allow the trout to thrive, even in the heat of summer. Despite recent DFG cutbacks, Big Bear Lake received 154,000 lbs. of rainbow trout last year, and from April through October 2005, DFG will stock the lake every two weeks with approximately 2000 lbs. of rainbow trout.
In addition to great trout fishing at Big Bear Lake, BBMWD will plant small-mouth bass in early June, which has not been done since 1988. Stephenson added that Big Bear Lake is ideal for small-mouth bass because they do well in cooler waters and higher elevations. Also, trout and smallmouth bass coexist well together. The lake also stocks catfish and crappie. Last summer, 5,000 bluegill were planted in an effort to re-establish the species in Big Bear Lake. These tasty fish make great fishing for young anglers.
Big Bear Lake is close to Southern California cities, making it an easy daytrip or getaway weekend destination. The lake is accessible from all shoreline vantage points for easy fishing from shore. Many houses on the lake are available for rent throughout the year, providing amazing access to the area. Big Bear Cool Cabins, http://www.BigBearCoolCabins.com/, have a vast selection of houses, cabins and condos available throughout the Big Bear area. When reserving, ask about the "Aaron Special."
Boats can be launched from the West Ramp located on the North Shore east of the dam on Highway 38. Big Bear Lake's East Boat Ramp will be closed this year because of a dredging project on the east end of the lake. However, a temporary alternate public boat ramp is open on the south shore at Big Bear Marina, 500 Paine Road.
"This is one of the only places in Southern California where you can enjoy a genuine alpine fishing experience," said Loren Hafen, owner of Holloway's Marina. "Why travel five or six hours to the Sierras when you can get the same quality of trout fishing here in Big Bear Lake?"
Fishermen looking for boat rentals are amply served by the four marinas that offer fishing and pontoon boats. Licenses and tackle can also be purchased at the marinas and local sporting goods stores. Licensed fishing guides offer a more in-depth fishing experience for trollers and downriggers.
Big Bear Lake will once again honor the DFG Free Fishing Days this year on Saturday, June 11 and Saturday, September 24. Free Fishing Day at Big Bear Lake means a fishing license is not required for these days, and BBMWD waves the usual $15 single-day boat-use permit as well.
To find out more about Big Bear Lake fishing, boat rentals, "free fishing days," and lodging, or to request a Big Bear Lake Visitors Guide, visit www.bigbear.com or call 800-4-BIG-BEAR (800.424.4232). And remember, the best deals can often be found before school lets out and after it starts up again. The lake and Big Bear area is beautiful year round.