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Irvine Lake's Trout Opener a Whopper of Success Story


Standing on the dusty west shore of Irvine Lake, Michael Godoy scanned several fishing poles and talked about his favorite fishing spot. It's hard to beat the Eastern Sierra, he said, especially the lakes and streams around Bridgeport.

But making the long drive up 395 isn't an option this time of year--trout season is over in the Sierra--so Godoy had to settle for Friday's opening for trout on this reservoir in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.

He wasn't complaining.

"This is a pretty good place right here," Godoy said, looking down a shoreline dotted with poles propped up every five feet or so.

As if on cue, the line on one of Godoy's poles received a slight tug and Godoy quickly moved over, picked up the pole, waited a few moments and then pulled back to set the hook.

Godoy got his 4-year-old daughter Elizabeth involved, letting her help reel in the ninth rainbow trout of the morning for La Puente family.

Irvine Lake's opener was family friendly, falling as it did on a school holiday for most children. There were plenty of kids among the 600 anglers at the lake Friday and many were having very good luck.

Corey Banks, 12, of Huntington Beach caught a 12.05-pounder, the second-biggest fish landed Friday. His father, Troy, pulled in the largest of opening day, a 12.8-pounder, but most of the trophy fish were bagged by youngsters. The list is impressive: Isaac Cordova, a 14-year-old from Pico Rivera who caught trout of 10.45 and 9.05 pounds, Paramount's Jesus Zabrano (5 years old, 11.4 pounds), Rancho Palos Verdes' Jared Tanaka (13, 10.95 pounds), Orange's Alex Aravjo (8, 9.7 pounds), Lakewood's Steven Bojorquez (7, 9.4 pounds) and Anaheim Hills' David Potenza (12, 9.15 pounds).

The kids were doing all right with smaller fish also, prompting one parent to good-naturedly grouse: "They are catching too many. Why did I even come? I should have just dropped them off."

Anglers started lining up at the lake Thursday morning, most sleeping overnight in their cars to make sure they could claim their favorite spots on the shore Friday. The Godoys got there at noon and were second in line. "So far it has been worth it," Godoy said.

Jody Arballo of Orange, his two young sons, brother-in-law and two nephews arrived at 9:30 Thursday night, wound up 30th in line, too far back to snag their usual spot. Even so, they landed 15 fish in the one-to-two pound range in the first few hours of the chilly morning.

Nearby, Braden Riddle, 6 1/2, from Ladera Ranch, was still waiting for his first bite. His father, Dave, and grandfather, Bruce, had had no better results.

"Braden's learning about fishing today," Bruce Riddle said. "Next time maybe he'll learn about catching."

But Braden wasn't ready to give up, chattering all the while. On paying attention: "Grandpa, watch your bobber. These trout bite pretty hard, you know." On patience: "Dad you've got to give the fish time. We just put our worms out."


After stocking 15,000 pounds of trout from the Mt. Lassen Trout Farm before the opener, the Irvine Lake concessionaire dumped in another 5,000 Monday. The season also continues at Santa Ana River Lakes, which also gets its fish from the Mt. Lassen farm and reported 79 catches over 10 pounds last week, including four over 18 pounds.

Laguna Niguel Lake, the county's other major pay-to-fish spot, will get into the trout mix next week. On Monday, 5,000 pounds of rainbows from Utah will be stocked in the 44-acre lake. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the lake will be open to float-tubers for catch-and-release fishing with barbless artificial lures.

Opening day for traditional trout fishing is next Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

The state Department of Fish and Game plans to start stocking trout at lakes at Craig, Greer, Huntington, Mile Square, Clark and Tri-City parks the week of December 4.


Demanding as it is, mechanical bull riding doesn't classify as an extreme sport, but at least a few professional skateboarders and bike motocrossers will be honing their urban-cowboy talent this week.

At Invert 2000, "the vertical sports carnival" Friday through Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center, riders who fail to qualify for finals in one of the six skating and biking events can try to win a wild-card bid by staying on the bull the longest.

Last year, Jesse Paez of Visalia qualified for the street skateboard final using the bull method and wound up winning the $3,000 first-place check.

The carnival, which will also feature surf and extreme sport exhibitors, runs 4-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $15. Information: (714) 847-5003 or


Two months after the fact, Newport Beach pilot Steve Andelin is still amazed that he won the U.S. National Acrobatic Championship.

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