|Late update, 8½ pounder biggest of opener:
An afternoon catch from shore from Lower Twin Lake near Bridgeport upped the ante in the opening day big fish chase as an 8-pound, 10½-ounce rainbow trout by Miles Foreman of Valley Center on a Mepps spinner appears to be the opening day whopper, reported WON staffer Martin Strelneck Sunday morning.The fish was photographed and weighed at Ken’s in Bridgeport.
Until that report, the biggest fish was a 6½ pound Alpers from Bishop Creek, followed by a 5-9 brown from Lower Twin, caught Saturday by Jeff Tyson of Orange on a Rapala.
One theory of why Crowley had such a great brown trout opener, said Rick Flamson at Rick’s Sporting Goods in Mammoth, is that the DFG is planning additional cutts and brown, in small sizes, in the lake just prior to the opener, 40,000 of them this year.
“It gets them fired up,” said Flamson said of the infusion of small fish. Her added the fishery is getting better and better, and guides and knowledgeable anglers can target them at will. “We catch ’em all the time and release them, In my opinion, the DFG is doing a great job planting the lake. That’s what I think.”
Look for the pics and more on the catches in WON this week.
Sunday morning update
Suntan weather, early limits, moderate crowds kick off the Sierra trout season
The Eastern Sierra opener did not disappoint with beautiful weather, easy access to lakes, and little wind. The Saturday tradition looked to be well-attended well along Highway 395, but last year's bitter cold and heavy snow and this year's fuel prices and two major campgrounds being closed likely contributed to a moderate turnout for the opener.
Not that lakes weren't rimmed with anglers, but the promise of great weather and access to lakes after a mild winter didn't seem to drive anglers in anticipated high numbers. Or the mild winter and several all-year areas may have caused many fishermen to skip the opener after heavily fishing the year around waters all winter.
Those who did make the drive up 395 found perfect conditions. There was a brisk wind in the morning but it diminished as the day went on, and 75 degree temps found some strange sights for opening day... shirtless anglers in boats, and even some standup paddlers in Crowley,
As far as fishing, it appears as of Sunday morning, based on WON reporters at all major areas, that a 6½ pounder was the biggest fish opening day. It was caught on Bishop Creek and brought to t he Rainbow Trout Festival in Bishop. WON will have photos of the fish this week in the May 4 issue. The brown trout in Crowley was excellent, and the general word at the lake and based on this reporter's experience was that the bite went off like a cannon early, then died off quickly on the shore, and then picked up again for trollers in the middle of the lake in early afternoon.
Was it epic fishing? No. The perfect weather likely gave anglers a short, short window of opportunity from shore. Trollers seemed to have more consistent action during the day. There were several 4-pound brown trout caught at Crowley, from Crooked Creek and many off Alligator Point and Sandy Point on the troll.
Convict was like many lakes... wide-open with quick limits, but no big fish over 3½ pounds. June Lake Loop recovered from heavy winds a few days before the opener and had a beautiful day, but quick limits was the rule, then the bite slowed down quickly. Earlier was better, was the common opinion, and also that it felt more like July than April.
More reports are still coming in ...but in all, it was great opener with moderate crowds, quick limits, no huge fish, but suntan weather...look for full reports, possible late big-fish reports from some areas.. and dozens of photos in this week's WON weekly, on the newsstands May 4, and updates on upcoming events in the Sierra as the season continues...
Friday night blog:
The weather is perfect, no wind after heavy gusts yesterday, and most lakes are open and have been open. In fact, it was such a mild winter, this is the first year I can remember that the road to Lake Mary in Mammoth Basin was plowed by opening day. The icefishing in upper lakes will be risky. The only accessible lake (by road) that will have decent icefishing opening day will be Virginia Lakes. The general feeling among anglers, writers and biologists at the annual Bishop Chamber of Commerce Press dinner is that the fishing will be the exact opposite of last year's trout opener that saw cold weather, poor access after heavy winter snowfall and poor fishing over the weekend.
Look for quick limits and big fish that have been feeding all winter, especially at Crowley that got a bonus plant by the DFG over the winter of 40,000 fish, half brown trout and half cutts. That was a suprise announcement last night by DFG personnel at the dinner. The DFG surveys taken indicate Crowley's planted fingerlings that have been on the chew because the lake never froze over will be in the robust 1½-pound range tomorrow.
It also appears the number of fishermen in the area is far greater than the past two years, due to the projected good weather and fishing. Big events for the opener are the Rainbow Trout Festival on Saturday in Bishop, the Fred J. Hall Memorial Derby at Crowley, the Monster Fish Contest at Ernie's on the June Loop, and the Bridgeport Derby. The Mammoth Lakes Fishmas Festival at the Village kicked off 50 days of special Fishmas promotions and fundraising for trout planting in Mono County. It started Friday night with music, beer, seminars and prizes and continues through Saturday. In all, it looks like a perfect opener, now that the winds have gone. Temps over the weekend will be in the low 70s during the day.
WON will will have full coverage of the opener in this week's May 4 edition, and this blog, started Friday, April 27, will have any news of huge trout taken over the weekend as it becomes available, plus results of the major derbies.