SALTON SEA – (OUTDOOR NEWS SERVICE)For those of you who don’t follow our weekly fishing reports, one of the bigger news items on the fishing front has been the spectacular bite on tilapia to four pounds at the Salton Sea this spring and early summer.
There are three reasons this action has become so popular with fishing families. First, the fish are not difficult to catch. All you need are some nightcrawlers, No. 6 baitholder or circle hooks, some weights and fishing gear with line testing between four and 10 pounds that you can hurl a fair distance. This means they are perfect for kids and those of us who’ve never outgrown our childhood. Second, the fish are some of the best-eating fish in the world, mild and white-meated, and they have been averaging an honest 1 1/2 to three pounds. The perfect size. I get drooly just thinking about tilapia fish tacos. 3) There is no limit. Yes, you read that right. You can keep as many tilapia as you are willing to catch, clean, and eat. Anglers at the Salton Sea State Park jetty have been filling big ice chests full almost daily since March. Catches of 50 to 100 fish per angler have not been uncommon.
If there’s a disclaimer, it’s simply that it WILL be hot at the north end of the Salton Sea. It won’t be as hot as last Saturday when the temperature peaked at 122 degrees by mid-afternoon, but it is supposed to crank up to 108 or so. Go early and fish in the morning while it’s still pleasant.
Some additional tips: the heat has pushed the tilapia out of the shallow, shoreline areas to a little deeper water. Shore anglers who can make long casts can still get them from the State Park jetty, but Bombay Beach has a steeper shoreline that drops off to deeper water more quickly and has been better this week. Boat, kayak (which are available for rent at the state park headquarters marina), canoe, and even float tube anglers are having exceptional fishing. There’s a good launch ramp at the headquarters (without a bunch of engine or quagga mussel restrictions).
Last tip: Don’t mess around trying to catch tilapia at the Salton Sea on anything else. Get some nightcrawlers. It’s apparently what’s for dinner on the tilapia menu.