A group of savvy and successful anglers were hangin’ out this morning, talking tournament results and lake trends that have emerged since last spring. While the unconfirmed sightings of giants always gets a listen, there were also accounts of fish that real-life guys held in their real-life hands.

When one said bluntly, “_______ is the best lake in Southern California,” I listened for a denial or counter-offer. But there was none forthcoming.

Even before the record setting 18 pounder of last spring, the big weight was in evidence there. Even a few weeks before the new lake standard was recorded, a good friend shared his best, going 16 pounds plus–weighed just as the marina shop was closing.

This “new” monster-maker, where no one raises an eyebrow until the scale tips 30 pounds for five–is Lake Perris. Read it and weep.

Yet, who could have known things would have unfolded as they have since the dam was tagged for insufficient earthquake tolerance. A forced drawdown at Perris immediately erased at least two year classes of fish. Bad publicity–plus the neon lights of that lake over in Hemet–turned the Perris parking lot into…an empty parking lot.

But just as has occurred on other Southland lakes that either get fished down (as in the old catch-and-keep days in San Diego) or otherwise see its population diminished, the bass that remain get an indulgent free pass. Less competition for food usually means the mature adults enjoy rapid growth.

And then there’s that reduction in fishing pressure. Few things are better for an angler. And right now, with the lake closed a couple of days a week (budget cuts?), weekday anglers find these bigger bass even less skittish.

Yep.  From the talk and cellphone pictures being passed around–I can’t argue. Perris is the best bass lake around here.


20 Responses to “Best lake in SoCal? You guessed wrong…”

Ok George, I’ll bite. How about we compare Perris to El Cap? I just did a quick review of the most recent tournament results at Perris (and I agree they are impressive), however, an ABA Dec 1 derby at Perris was won with 29 pounds with 9 pound kicker but the same day it took 32 pounds with a 10 pound kicker (NBW)to win at El Cap. Just last weekend it took 19 pounds to win at Perris (ABA) with a 7 pound kicker but 23 pounds and a 11.6 pound kicker (NBW) took El Cap. Call me a home town homer but from what we are seeing down here – especially in the last few years – we’ll hold our jewell against your jewell any day!

El Cap is by far better than Perris! Perris may have a larger population of bass above the 12lbs mark but El Cap has way more quality bass in the 3-10lbs mark. If the few large fish make Perris “The” best SoCal lake them Mission is the best by far. Plus, Lake Williams will take a run for the title too. Lol

Williams lake is better for sure.

El Cap and Perris, similar in this regard: both have artificial environments, one with a high level now, the other low. Which breaks first? Does San Vicente reopen before the dam is refurbished at Perris? Probably. And then reality takes over in San Diego; down goes Cap’s water level and San Vicente will take over the glamor spot. After 60 years, El Cap continues to sport the smallest lake record bass of all the City Lakes. Perris, the former world record-holder for spotted bass, is now riding the Florida hybrid lineage. (Interesting in all this, the DVL lake record now on the brink of falling, so look for 17 plus there as well.) As for the Perris/El Cap comparison, one cheesecake sized sampling does not settle the deal. Watch what happens over the next 6 to 8 weeks. 🙂

Knowing what I know and what I’ve seen about both waters it’s Perris….that is until everyone reads this and beats the crap out of it. (I hope not) IMO, the ONLY fish that matters weighs 22-8 or more. Hopefully the next 3-5 years will be kind and allow for something REALLY SPECIAL to happen, the potential is definitely there.

Since Perris has alot less derbys than El Cap, it does not get anywhere near the pressure or publicity as El Cap and is much smaller. So many toads in Perris its crazy. Just last weekend there I saw an 11.75, a 10 plus and at least 10 fish over 7 caught that day. As far a quality limits thruout the field El Cap is better. But if you want a shot at a double digit fish, Perris is better.

Any lake where the bass jump into my boat is the best lake….with that said, Piru, Castaic, and Pyramid suck!

by George Kramer

Mmm. Is that description Cantonese or Mandarin? 😉

Korean! 🙂

Mission has bigger bass than Perris. More of them too. Perris will die when the project gets going. Sad but true!

by George Kramer

Private lake stats not really a part of this discussion.

Any word of any more spotted bass at Perris?

They have gone the way of the passenger pigeon. I’ve not heard of any caught or turned in a DFW electro-survey.

So, what goes into quantifying the ‘best’ bass lake? Biggest winning limits? Most fish over 10lbs? Or highest average tournament weight? I guess that I would probably choose highest average tournament weight. How about everyone else?

I’ll stretch this string even further, best SoCal lake is Lake Havasu. Yeah, it has Cali borders. Tom, you know El Cap is the place right now period. DFG doesn’t want to admit that the best lake has Quagga and that’s the truth. Remember when we all were told that quagga was going to kill our lakes. Mead is better, Havasu is better, Skinner is better, El Cap is better & on it goes. Yeah, Perris has some great size but best lake? Hell no!!

I agree with Guy. Quagga’s make the fishing better. Just ask the folks at Irvine Lake. Been great since they went in. But Perris is pretty good Guy. Come on out!

We caught a Spot last year in Perris that went 2 lbs. only one Ive seen in 8 years!

I like a little space to roam Rick, I’ll pass on the sk8 park. Never liked fishing in a barrel, too easy!

34.31 wins El Cap today. Yeah, like I said; best lake in SoCal. Perris is a weekday hype lake with big fish but def not the best. Dock talk is a b— sometimes!! Lol

I’m with Leedom….Cap is King!