Posted by: mikewochner | May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Weekend

Between the boating and the barbecues, please take time to pause and remember the meaning of Memorial Day by honoring those who have served and gave their all.

Posted by: mikewochner | May 23, 2014

Fish plants are good business for Big Bear

Madison fishing

Written by Casey Jones, Big Bear Grizzly.

Fish plants are good business for Big Bear

On the surface, it might seem like a silly thing for a city council to do, paying to plant a bunch of fish in a lake without even knowing if they’ll be caught by local voters.

But in Big Bear Lake, where fishing for rainbow trout is big business as well as a local passion, it makes sense as a public service. So it’s nice to see Big Bear Lake officials take seriously a request for help from the Big Bear Municipal Water District.

MWD board member Vince Smith asked the City Council April 28 to consider paying for a trout plant or two. He said the MWD has already stocked fish twice this year, and is planning four more plants. But the $45,000 per year that the MWD spends on trout is not enough to offset the loss of fish from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Until last year, the state consistently placed about 150,000 pounds of trout in the lake. Last year, that number fell to just 62,000 pounds, and MWD officials say they are not sure how many pounds will be planted this year. Big Bear Lake has a put-and-take fishery, so the fish population could founder.

Mayor Jay Obernolte said the next step would be to put the item on the agenda for a future council meeting. The council should.

City Manager Jeff Mathieu said fish plants could come up during budget discussions. Again, it should.

In fact, the council should consider making a permanent commitment to planting trout in Big Bear Lake for the sake of our economy and our quality of life. Trout tournaments attract more than 1,800 paying visitors to town each year. MWD surveys show that about 50 percent of the boaters who come to the lake come to fish. And local voters catch their share, too.


Posted by: mikewochner | May 8, 2014

Trout Classic is May 17th and 18th

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Register for May Trout Classic

Don’t miss the family fun and excitement of the grandfather of all fishing tournaments. The 32nd annual Jim Hall Memorial May Trout Classic is May 17 and 18 in Big Bear Lake.

The total payout for the largest rainbow trout is $2,500 based on 500 paid entrants. The total payout for all nine places is $8,000 based on the same entry numbers.

Entry fee is $65 and has remained the same for many years. Children of paid entrants between the ages of 5 and 15 are eligible to participate in two divisions at no cost.

Sponsors include Okuma, Pautzke, Big Bear Marina, Holloway’s Marina and Big Bear Sporting Goods.

Send in your application early and tell a friend. Applications are available at www.maytroutclassic.comor contact Jacque Hall at jacque@maytroutclassic.comor 909-585-4007 for more information.

Posted by: mikewochner | May 1, 2014

Thermostats Recalled Due to Fire Hazard

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White-Rodgers Recalls Home Heating and Cooling Thermostats Due to Fire Hazard

More than one million thermostats sold in the United States and Canada since 2006 are being recalled because the batteries can leak and cause a fire.

Product: The thermostats are made by White-Rodgers, but some have different brand names printed on the front, including ComfortSentry, DICO, Emerson, Frigidaire, Maytag, Nutone, Partners Choice, Rheem, Ruud, Unico, Water Furnace, Westinghouse and Zonefirst.

Hazard: The alkaline batteries used in the thermostat can leak onto the circuit board posing a fire hazard.

Remedy: Consumers should check thermostats for battery icon on the left side of the blue lighted screen, if the battery icon is not shown, contact White-Rodgers to receive a free repair or a replacement thermostat.

Consumer Contact: White-Rodgers toll-free at (888) 624-1901 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.  Or visit the Consumer Protection website here.

Posted by: mikewochner | April 24, 2014

MS Walk 2014 is May 3rd

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The 2014 MS Walk is scheduled for May 3rd this year.  Typically North Shore Elementary is the starting and finish line as you walk on the Alpine Pedal Path.  Individuals or teams can walk a 1k course or a 5k course that winds around the shoreline of Big Bear Lake.  If you would like to get involved you can sign up as a walker or a volunteer online (click here to view), or you can call (909) 949-1363.

Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies are at 10 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m


Posted by: mikewochner | April 6, 2014

Fishing Big Bear Lake

Dax Wood, aka "the fish whisperer", Fishing Big Bear Lake

Dax Wood, aka “the fish whisperer”, Fishing Big Bear Lake

Thought this was an interesting article published in the Big Bear Grizzly regarding trout fishing in Big Bear Lake.

Catch on to help with Big Bear fish plants

There’s a lot to be said for a day spent trout fishing on Big Bear Lake. There’s the camaraderie, a oneness with nature, the hope that springs eternal with every cast.

But last year, those hopes were dashed for many trout anglers, who experienced a lake of declining rewards. And make no mistake, for many if not most fishers, catching is the best part of fishing.

So what made the worm turn for the worse?

Trout plants by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2013 were roughly half of previous seasons, Mike Stephenson, lake operations manager for the Big Bear Municipal Water District, told The Grizzly in November. About 157,000 pounds of trout were stocked. Expect a similar number in 2014, as the Department’s fish plant program struggles with a fry-size budget and a costly new requirement that hatchery fish be infertile to avoid breeding with wild strains.

You didn’t need a solunar table to figure out what would happen: Big Bear is a put-and-take lake, and the size of the trout harvest is directly proportional to the size of the planting.

Dry, mild winters also may be a contributing factor, resulting in lower water levels and increased angling pressure, which reduces the number of holdover trout available in the spring.

Stephenson acknowledged to The Grizzly late last year that the lake used to be a 10 on a scale of 1-to-10 for trout fishing. Last season, he said, he’d give the lake a 7. The water district already spends about $45,000 on fish plants, Stephenson said, and can’t afford to pick up the slack lines left by the state.

In many places, poor fishing would be little cause for concern. But in Big Bear, when the fishing suffers, the local economy suffers.

Trout tournaments and trout fishing attract thousands to town, often in the shoulder seasons when area merchants and lodging providers need a boost. Marinas, bait and tackle shops, and guide services are important employers in Big Bear, and as the fishing goes, so goes business. Even the real estate industry hinges in part on a productive fishing lake, and the resulting word-of-mouth advertising. For many, tight lines are an important part of the Big Bear lifestyle.

So what’s a town to do?

Officials with at least one local tournament— the Jim Hall Memorial May Trout Classic—are taking a proactive approach to improving the fishing. Tournament officials are reducing prize money to plant more trophy rainbow trout in the lake in advance of the tournament May 17 and 18.

Similarly, organizers of the 2014 Aaron’s Big Bear Lake Bass Tournament Championship series are accepting donations from anglers to pay for a bass plant.

Other outdoors and business organizations should follow suit, and cast about for ways to put more fish in the lake.

Local residents could ask their state legislators to support Big Bear by increasing funding for fish plants.

And anglers can lend a hand by handling trout carefully, and practicing catch-and-release.

Posted by: mikewochner | April 1, 2014

East Launch Ramp Set to Open


East Boat Launch Ramp 4/1/14

East Boat Launch Ramp 4/1/14

It doesn’t feel much like Spring today….very windy and cold with a light “dusting” of snow this morning.  Weather is suppose to warm up towards the end of the week but with such a mild Winter, everyone is thinking about the Lake.

Article courtesy of Big Bear Grizzly

East Launch Ramp set to open

Spring is officially here, and while some of the marinas have been open for weeks, others are joining the party now that the calendar officially says spring.

Holloway’s Marina has been open since February. The marina is open seven days a week, and pontoon rentals and other amenities are available.

Big Bear Marina opened March 22 for pontoon rentals and is slated to open for all other services Friday, March 28.

Pleasure Point Marina and Captain John’s Fawn Harbor opened March 22 for the season, Pine Knot Marina opened March 22 for weekends with the full opening slated for April 1.

Also opening April 1 is the Big Bear Municipal Water District’s East Launch Ramp. Early season hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Entry gates lock at closing time.

North Shore Landing is scheduled to open May 1 and the West Launch Ramp opens May 9.

For information on quagga inspections, licences and other information, visit the MWD website at

• East Launch Ramp: 41911 North Shore Drive, Big Bear Lake, 909-866-5200.

Big Bear Marina, 500 Paine Court, Big Bear Lake, 909-866-3218.

Holloway’s Marina, 398 Edgemoor Road, Big Bear Lake, 909-866-5706.

Pleasure Point Marina, 603 Landlock Landing Road, Big Bear Lake. 909-866-2455.

North Shore Landing, 38573 North Shore Drive, Fawnskin, 909-878-4386.

Captain John’s Fawn Harbor, 39396 North Shore Drive, Fawnskin, 909-866-6478.

Pine Knot Marina, 439 Pine Knot Ave., Big Bear Lake, 909-866-7766.

• West Launch Ramp, 38925 North Shore Drive, Fawnskin, 909-866-2917.

39124 Waterview

39124 Waterview

Big Bear Lakefront Home at 39124 Waterview Closes Escrow (Sale #3 for 2014)

Situated on over a half acre of land, this Big Bear lakefront property had a wonderful setting.  Built in 1948 with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, this had a lot of characteristics home buyers are looking for in a cabin.  It had the original knotty pine interior, a large native stone fireplace in the living room, and it had space around it (it wasn’t on top of the neighbors).  It has a 2 car garage at the street with a long sweeping driveway going down to the house, as well as a 2 car boat garage in the build up on the back side of the house.

The negatives?  It was old and in need of repair.  You walk into the kitchen which is very dated….and there’s only 1 bedroom downstairs which is off of the living room so it wasn’t very private.  That, coupled with the lower ceilings were deal breakers for a couple clients I showed the property to.  I really liked the lot size but I thought the price per square foot was on the steep side.

Information Regarding this Lakefront Home Sale

List Price: $1,200,000
Sales Price: $1,050,000
List Price to Sales Price Ratio: 88%
Days On Market: 243
Sold Price per Square Foot: $627.24
Sale Date: 2/18/2014

Photos of this Lakefront Home



Living Room

Living Room







Back of House

Back of House

Aerial View of 39124 Waterview

Google map of 39124 Waterview

Google map of 39124 Waterview


155 Lagunita Lane

155 Lagunita Lane

Big Bear Lakefront Home at 155 Lagunita Lane Closes Escrow (Sale #2 for 2014)

This was a pretty unique property.  It overlooked the center of Big Bear Lake with 110′ of lake frontage and had 2 separate units.  As I’ve written in the past, properties that are zoned R-3 (multiple units) are a little more difficult to finance.  There’s just not a lot of comparable sales along Big Bear Lake for appraisers to use…but this Big Bear lakefront property didn’t seem to have many problems selling.  It came on the market towards the end of the year over the holidays.  It was on the market for 9 days and closed escrow 47 days later.  Based on the sales price, it’s easy to assume that there was a bidding war (it was listed for $799,900 and closed escrow at $815,000).

The MLS shows this Big Bear lakefront property being 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and 2000 square feet.  If you break it down per unit one was a 2 bedroom, 1 bath cabin; the other was a 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath cabin with a 2 car garage.  Great rental potential, but it was adjacent to Lagunita Lodge which is a drawback because it is a busy timeshare complex.  Overall, I thought it was a decent value (and at least 2 others thought it was a good value based on the bidding war).

Information Regarding this Lakefront Home Sale

List Price: $799,900
Sales Price: $815,000
List Price to Sales Price Ratio: 102%
Days On Market: 9
Sold Price per Square Foot: $407.50
Sale Date: 2/10/2014 

Aerial View of 155 Lagunita Lane

Google Map of 155 Lagunita Lane

Google Map of 155 Lagunita Lane




Posted by: mikewochner | February 28, 2014

Weather in the Mountains


I’ll admit, I jinxed the ski resorts this year when I purchased ski passes.  We haven’t had any snow to speak of!  But this week’s precipitation will definitely improve the lake level. So far moderate rain falling in Big Bear with just about a 1/2 inch since midnight but they say it will turn to snow later this afternoon.  Make sure to check with CalTrans before driving up….I had an appraiser who canceled an appointment this morning due to rock/mudslides around the Arctic Circle area.

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