Lake Perris: Unlocking Southern California’s Angling Secrets

When it comes to fishing in Southern California, legends often overshadow the hidden gems. Lake Perris, despite the tales of spotted bass glory, stands as a testament to the surprises that can await anglers who delve beyond the myths. This pristine lake, nestled amidst the San Bernardino Mountains, offers a diverse and thriving fishery that caters to seasoned anglers and newcomers alike. So, let’s embark on a journey to explore the underwater wonders of Lake Perris.

Types of Fish You Can Expect to Catch Here

  • Florida Largemouth Bass:
    • The stars of the show! Year-round residents that grow to trophy sizes, especially during the spring and fall. Early mornings and evenings near coves, weed beds, and rocky structures are prime times. Crankbaits, jigs, and plastic worms are their weaknesses. Be prepared for acrobatic fights!
  • Alabama Spotted Bass:
    • Feisty cousins of the largemouth that add a different dimension to the bass experience. They’re schooling fish, so finding them can be a puzzle, but the rewards are worth it. Try smaller finesse lures and topwater baits.
  • Catfish Kings:
    • Channel catfish and bullhead catfish rule the warmer months (May to September). Nightcrawlers, stink bait, and cut bait are their favorite snacks, especially near the bottom. Be prepared for powerful pulls and tasty fillets!
  • Rainbow Surprises:
    • During the winter months (December to February), the lake is stocked with rainbow trout. Mornings and evenings near the inlets or deeper areas might be rewarded with a fight. Match the hatch with lures or flies for the best results.
  • Crappie Carnival:
    • Crappie love the shallows and structures like docks and submerged trees. Live minnows or small jigs are their irresistible invitations for a tug-of-war. Kids will love reeling these feisty friends in.
  • Bluegill Symphony:
    • Bluegill and redear sunfish add a lighthearted touch near coves and rocky areas. Worms and small lures will keep them entertained, making them perfect for beginners.
  • Carp Giants:
    • Keep an eye out for the occasional monster carp, known for their powerful runs and headstands. They’re not easy to land, but the fight is epic.

Local Insights

  • Early Risers Rule:
    • The golden hours after sunrise and before sunset are magic, especially for bass and trout. Match the hatch for fly fishing, and use live bait for catfish and crappie.
  • Shore or Boat:
    • Both options are viable. The shoreline offers easy access and a relaxed atmosphere, while boats allow you to explore deeper waters and hidden coves.
  • Family-Friendly Haven:
    • The park boasts picnic areas, playgrounds, and even a swimming beach. Make fishing part of a fun-filled outing, and let the kids enjoy the catch-and-release opportunities for sunfish and crappie.
  • Seasonal Shifts:
    • The fishing experience changes throughout the year. Spring and fall are prime for trophy bass and trout, while summer heats up with catfish action. Winter can be quieter, but you might find lurking monster bass.

Unique to Lake Perris

  • Fossils and Fishing:
    • This lake has a fascinating geological history, with fossils embedded in the surrounding rocks. While you cast your line, imagine the prehistoric creatures that once swam these waters.
  • Scenic Backdrop:
    • Rolling hills, oak trees, and the San Gabriel Mountains frame your fishing experience, creating a picturesque escape from the city. Breathe in the fresh air and soak in the views.
  • Island Hideaway:
    • The center island offers a unique fishing experience, accessible only by boat. It’s a haven for secluded coves, deeper water, and potentially bigger fish.

Top Fishing Spots

  • North Shore:
    • Shallow coves for sunfish and crappie. Inlets and deeper areas for potential trophy bass and trout, especially in the mornings and evenings. This area is also great for beginners and families.
  • East Shore:
    • Rocky areas and submerged trees attract bass and catfish. This is a good spot for boat fishing or trying your luck from the shore.
  • West Shore:
    • Enjoy the solitude and cast towards the deeper center for potential monster catfish and bass, especially during the evenings.
  • Island Shoreline:
    • Rent a boat and explore the island’s coves, deeper water, and unique structures for a chance at trophy fish and a secluded fishing experience.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Bonus Tip:

  • Be mindful of park regulations and water levels. Obtain a fishing license, practice catch-and-release for trout (except during designated catch days), and dispose of trash properly. Also, be aware of seasonal closures and potential algae blooms.

Lake Perris might not conform to the legendary tales, but it offers an angling experience that’s rich in diversity and surprises. So, pack your gear, embrace the tranquility of the San Bernardino Mountains, and cast your line into the depths of Lake Perris.