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That’s the key word for this Memorial Day weekend in the Eastern Sierra. Fishing will certainly mark the top activity for many folks, but there is also the annual Mule Days festival in Bishop to experience, with its 20-mule Borax Team and the assorted other sights. Bishop will be very busy this weekend, so why not head to higher ground?
Making a big trip? Don’t forget to check out the website: www.easternsierrafishing.com and post comments when you get a chance. We’d love to hear about your trip!
Speaking of Bishop, the Bishop Creek drainage continues to please anglers. Up at Sabrina, the bait anglers are outfishing the lure anglers at midday. Look for using PowerBaits, Salmon Eggs and other baits to attract the fish. The good news is that while bait anglers are kicking it at midday, the lure anglers are finding great success early morning and evening. The ol’ Thomas Bouyant seems to be the best pick.
Heading down the canyon, anglers are enjoying themselves at Intake II, North Lake, and down at South Lake. The reports coming in indicate lures are working well and bait anglers are having success floating the bait about five feet below the surface with a bobber. This is the spawn, so if you don’t need to eat the fish for dinner, please consider practicing sane catch-and-release tactics.
Up north from Bishop, the Pleasant Valley reservoir is really hot, as in too hot for comfortable fishing. With all of the lakes up in the high country ice-free, consider moving out of the Valley and push up to say Rock Creek Lake. (Buy some pie at the Rock Creek Lakes Resort.)
The Mammoth Basin is opening up and anglers report success using lures. Convict Lake is really hot right now with anglers pulling 3 lb fish out of the water consistently. Farther north at Bridgeport Reservoir, bait fishing and trolling has yielded excellent results.
I haven’t heard from the June Lake Loop. Anyone care to report back?
Down at Crowley, the hot spot is the Sandy Point area. Look for the best catches along the east side of the point. Browns and cutthroats can be found about 12 feet below the surface hugging the bank. Anglers report the best success using Stevie Wonders in black and grey. I’m told the water level is much lower this year; probably due to the low winter snowpack. Watch out for water hazards that might have been submerged in past years.
The mosquitos are already a problem. Plan on bathing in insect repellent and remember to wash your hands before you put on any bait or lure. Nothing repeals fish better than smell of any bug repellent.
Also, this is the Sierra, so while it is generally beautiful, count on some rain and perhaps snow at the higher elevations. The afternoon rainstorms have kicked up a lot of mud of late in the Long Valley making fishing in Hot Creek a challenge in the afternoon. Of course, with a great caddis hatch late in the day, this chocolate water color might just be something you can learn to live with.
Memorial Day Fishing Deals
Tom Loe of Sierra Drifters Fly Fishing Guide Service (760-935-4250) (www.sierradrifters.com) reports:
Upper Owens River:
Access is pretty good but you will still encounter some muddy sections on the feeder roads leading into and along the fence line. Remember- all wheel drives just take you further in to get stuck!
Flows have been bumped up to 110 CFS and this has actually helped the conditions improve. We are still seeing some bigs that have migrated up from Crowley but the huge fall rainbows we call Crowley Steelhead are spawned out and the hens have deposited their eggs.
Look for the Kamloops and Eagle Lake strain bows to begin moving in mass as soon as the ice thaws near the inlet to Crowley. It is receding quickly and should be open by mid-March for sure. There is also spotty dry fly action on the warmer days. I suggest midge cluster patterns, or # 20-22 para midges.
With the onset of this warmer weather forecast the BWO’s will begin to show soon. First generations are good sized, # 16′s will get looks. Nymphing is best, always is this time of year. Use attractors as your upper fly on a tandem rig, stick with small flashback PT’s, birds nest, crystal & broken back midges as the dropper.
Egg patterns will also get grabs on the colder days when the fish are more lethargic. With the higher flows we have seen some nice fish move out of the pools and along the deeper cut banks, so look for those darker slices of water along the channel side for opportunities now.
Lower Owens River:
I have not used the word epic to describe fly fishing down here in a long, long time. Due to a combination of ideal water conditions and a large planting of catchable rainbows put in below the wild trout section-we are enjoying some fantastic fishing on the LO. The last three drifts had fish counts of 47, 112, & 88 caught and released. I call this “catch’N” not fish’N!
The wild trout area is also fishing well with flows remaining at, or below 100 CFS. The wind has been a factor at times messing up the baetis emergence; however this is the main course for the wild fish.
Have a # 16 BWO adult ready to go after 1 pm, find a deep pool with a long riffle leading into, or below it for some consistent dry fly action mid-day. Stick to pheasant tails or birds nest patterns while nymphing # 14-18.
Light to moderate sinking tip lines and the “dip & strip” method of streamer fishing is crushing the rainbows.
Sierra Drifters Spruce-a-Bu, Punk Perch # 14, and Loebergs # 10 working.
Flows look to remain low for a longer duration this year, so if you want a combination of warm weather and good fishing give us a call and we will set up a drift trip for you in March.
Kevin was on a 2 day fishing trip to Tioga Pass and caught 41 beautiful trout in 2 half days of fishing. O f those 41 fish, Kevin caught 5 weighing over 2 lbs.
Kevin reports this was the first time he caught a Eastern Sierra Alpers Trout after 23 years of fishing the Eastern Sierra. He says it fought like a normal Rainbow 3x its size would have. More at 3.0 lb. Rainbow Trout caught by Kevin Davenport fishing in …
The Eastern Sierra certainly can help calm your nerves, especially after a long week of negotiating or fighting corporate raiders. Well, imagine how much stress can be taken away from a veteran.
Project Healing Waters, a Maryland-based organization, provides physical and emotional rehabilitation for veterans through fishing, fly tying and rod building. Trout Unlimited, and its California chapters, has played a major role in helping with their efforts.
On Sunday, April 15, TU California (TUCA) volunteers Mike Caltagirone, of the Sagebrush Chapter, and Matt Hargrave, of the Truckee Chapter, joined with TUCA staff members Dave Lass and Sam Davidson to take veterans fishing on the East Walker River, in eastern California near the Nevada border., joined with TUCA staff members Dave Lass and Sam Davidson to take veterans fishing on the East Walker River, in eastern California near the Nevada border…More at TU Takes Veterans Fishing in California | Trout Unlimited Blog
The Lower Owens has been flowing a steady 275 cfs for the last few weeks.
During the day BubbleBack emergers and Trigger Nymphs have been producing fish all times of the day in sizes #16-20, Crawling Caddis, Caddis Emergers, and The Ticket in sizes #14-18 are also on the Lower Owens menu these days. Midge emergers in various dark colors #18-20 are also a great choice for your bottom fly on your nymph setup.
On the surface of the water good ol’ Elk Hair Caddis #16-20, Stallcups Adult Caddis #16, Hemingway Caddis and other Turkey Winged caddis in #18′s. BWO thorax #16-20, Ext. Body BWO #16-20, Good old Adams and Para BWO in the same sizes will also produce….More at Lower Owens River – STM Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
The East Walker River has been fishing very well with cool water temps, clearer water, and springtime flows some very nice specimens have been hooked! Some even landed! Flows seem to be fluctuating between 100-150 cfs recently which can be optimal with the cooler water temps. Most fish being caught are hefty brown trout with a few chunky rainbows mixed in. Nymphing and streamers are taking the majority of large trout in the East Walker….More at East Walker River – STM Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
The general trout opener in the Eastern Sierra kicks off on April 28, one hour before sunrise. In Inyo and Mono counties, all waters are open to fishing Saturday morning. Because of the popularity of Opening Day with anglers, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is working with all speed to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. This has been a mild winter, however, the DFG is hedging a bit and saying lingering winter conditions could play a major role in how many rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs can be stocked before April 28.
Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits and gear restrictions. Anglers are advised to check the 2012-13 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet, found online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations, for regulations specific to each body of water….More at Annual General Trout Opener Coming Soon in the Eastern Sierra
Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season.
Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre lake, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener.
About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.
CARSON RIVER, East, West — Both Forks are again scheduled for more California Department of Fish and Game trout plants in advance of the general trout season, which begins April 28. The DFG planted 500 pounds of cutthroat trout in each fork this past week, according to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort….More at The Fishing Report — April 20, 2012 – Record-Searchlight
Did you feel that sun this weekend? Nice and next weekend is expected to be just as good or better. Many of the lakes are ice-free and many didn’t even have a coating of ice this winter. A couple of thing to consider about the mild winter; less ice to melt and fish already slurping on nymphs and caddis flies.
Crowley Lake only had winter ice covering its surface for about a week this past winter, and Crowley always has bigger fish in years when the ice leaves the lake early because the fish have a better food supply. Crowley also was planted with more trout than normal this past year – over 500,000 rainbows, cutthroats, and brown trout were planted last fall. While many of those fish went in as fingerlings that probably won’t be catchable-sized until late this season or next year, but around 300,000 of them should be 12-inches or bigger (and some of the catchable and brookstock fish planted will be a lot bigger).
Top Eastern Sierra fishing report web sites are: www.KensSport.com (Bridgeport region), www.TheTroutFly.com, and www.SierraDrifters.com….More at Eastern Sierra- 976-FRESH Freshwater Fish Report
The road to Lake Sabrina is open and the resort is ready for customers. Convict Lake is ice-free and the lakes in the Mammoth Basin are thawing with Lake Mamie already ice-free. This is a unique year and everyone should have an excellent time.