Escondido trout to come from Sierra foothills

Dixon to get 33,000 pounds, Wohlford 25,000 from Snelling trout farm

Steve Capps caught a record-breaking 16.41-pound trout at Lake Dixon in December.
  • Steve Capps caught a record-breaking 16.41-pound trout at Lake Dixon in December.

It won’t be a record-breaking trout season at Escondido’s lakes this winter, but the number of fish available for angler’s stringers will multiply greatly.

Over the summer, the city received three bids from hatcheries to supply the requested 58,500 pounds of fish to Dixon Lake and Lake Wohlford. The city was unable to renew a bid from the Chaulk Mound Trout Ranch in Bridgeport, Nebraska. The home of the huge Nebraska Tailwalkers had notified the city earlier this year that the cost of delivering their record-setting fish to California would probably be prohibitive.

Awarded by the city council on October 11, the Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling, CA (near the western Sierra foothills above Merced) was given the $227,565 contract for the 2017-18 trout season. The city’s aggressive fish stocking program has made both lakes a premier spot for SoCal winter trout anglers, with costs more than offset by fishing permits, boat rentals, campground fees, and concessions.

On the size of the plants, Dan Hippert, Head Ranger and Superintendent of Lakes for the city said, “80 percent will be three-quarter to one pound, 15 percent one to five pounds, and five percent are to be over five pounds.”

Dixon Lake

1700 North La Honda Drive, Escondido

Dixon will receive 33,000 pounds of trout, to be stocked through April. Wohlford will get 25,500 pounds. It’s almost the same poundage as was planted last year. Stocking usually takes place every two weeks through the season.

The first plant at Dixon will be a few weeks before the big Trout Derby, which draws anglers from all over Southern California, scheduled for December 1 – 3.

Lake Wohlford

25453 Lake Wohlford Road, Escondido

Wohlford’s opener is tentatively scheduled for December 9, but water temperatures have to drop, says Hippert. “It was reading 73 degrees on the surface (October 26). It just went up two degrees over the last few days.” Lake Wohlford, being completely exposed to full sun, will need much cooler water in order for the trout to survive.

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