When you can sit on the lake wearing shorts enjoying the sun, the mountains, and the water, it is a good day of fishing. Anglers found the Eastern Sierra rewarded them with plenty of sun and in some cases plenty of trophy trout on Opening Day.
This was a rare year where you could drive to nearly all of the high mountain lakes and streams in the Eastern Sierra stocked with trout. Many of the lakes, such as Rock Creek Lake, perennially iced over at this time of the year were ice-free for the opener.
Trophy trout were caught throughout the Eastern Sierra. An article in the Pasadena Star News reported Whit Behrens of Pleasant Hill, Calif. caught a 3.9-pound rainbow at June Lake on a lure and Benjaim Arai of Pasadena caught a 5.12-pound rainbow at Convict Lake on floating bait.
Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the weather with a US Forest Service employee commenting in Bishop on Saturday that this might be the best opener in memory.
The Rainbow Trout Festival in Bishop brought in many anglers with their catches all attempting to win a prize or just show off their stringers.
Spring Fishing Deals
The jewel of the Sierra, Lake Sabrina, may surprise a few anglers this spring. The beautiful lake, seen above, has been reduced to its original size; two small lakes far from the present marina.
The low water level is a combination of work on the dam under construction for Southern California Edison and a lack of snowfall this winter.
The depth of Sabrina has been reduced to the original twin natural lakes that were present prior to the placement of the dam to store water for the production of electricity farther down Bishop Creek Canyon.
According to the Inyo Register, “Sabrina Lake Boat Landing owner Juanita Apted is optimistic.”
“It’s going to look terrible, but it should be good for fishing” for those who are willing to walk, Apted said. Read more: Super-low Sabrina will still be fishable for Opener
The Mono County Supervisors approved spending an additional $19,150 for additional trout-stocking by Inland Aquaculture Group (IAG) at it’s meeting Tuesday. The money rounds out the budget of $120,000 approved for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. This means IAG trucks will be rushing out to the lakes in the June Lake Loop and other spots in Mono County prior to the fishing opener with Alpers Trout.
From Inyo National Forest
The U.S. Forest Service is working with the Town of Mammoth Lakes to open Mammoth Lakes Basin before the fishing opener on April 27th. After the roads are plowed, warm weather is needed to melt ice caps from the road surface and to melt back parking areas and road intersections. Opening dates of the roads for vehicles will depend on snow, ice and road conditions. The Lakes Basin will be open to pedestrians, but not vehicles while the roads are being plowed. Read more here: Road Plowing Starting Early for Mammoth Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow for Fishing Opener and Memorial Day Weekend
From Modesto Bee
For the first time, forest managers will be required to adopt practices intended to insure just as much clean water for fish and people in the future. Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra national forests will be the first three in California to revise their forest management plans under the new rule. Forests farther north, including Stanislaus, will follow suit in coming years. Read more here: Forest managers told to protect Sierra rivers
Amazing what a couple of months in weather can do for the snowpack. The northern Sierra is crucial in providing statewide water supplies because snow melt fills reservoirs. But snowpack readings show water content at only 66 percent of normal for March 2013. According to the snow survey results, electronic readings for the Central Sierra Nevada mountains show 67 percent of average water content to-date and 58 percent of the seasonal average. …More at Sierra Snowpack Below Normal; Driest Year on Record – KPBS
Below is a pre-publication article that will appear in the Spring 2013 Sierra Fisherman magazine which will be on-line on March 7.
“March through May is an “iffy” proposition for us mountain fly fishers. There are options if one is willing to travel. Below are some unheralded waters away from the Sierra ……More at Spring Fly Fishing Options…other than Truckee area – California Fly …
The annual Blake Jones Derby returns March 16 in Bishop. This year the Bishop Chamber of Commerce is raffling a Dave Scadden Escape Pontoon Boat as the Grand Prize. The derby is an annual tradition and has been going strong since 1968. The site of the derby is along the Owens River, just below the Pleasant Valley Reservoir, six miles north of Bishop.
The full Eastern Siera Trout Fishing Season doesn’t open until April 27, so fishing during the derby is only allowed in the reservoir and along the Owens River. The entire fishery will be stocked with trout this week by both Inland Aquaculture Group and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
For more details visit the Bishop Chamber.
Weather for Bishop Today 05/22/2013 05/23/2013Partly Cloudy
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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.
The Sierra Nevada snowpack is at 93 percent of the historical average for the end of January, according to the state Department of Water Resources survey completed Tuesday afternoon. That’s not bad — but a month ago it was 140 percent.
The conditions are a far cry from the last drought.