Crowley kicked out a bunch of quality browns and cutthroats.
Opening day was all you could ask for weather wise, but it was a cold night despite a day-long thaw and a lot of ice scum was back on Gull and June when we left for Crowley, but there were plenty of boats to keep it chopped up. I don't know how much the trout helped. I'm stitting in the Double Eagle again watching the Lakers and the bar just filled up with guys who fished June Lake who said it was tough, but some fish were caught. Crowley was a pick but a lot of beautiful fish came in. These guys all came in too late for the Crowley Lake Fred Hall Memorial Big Fish Contest. Two great cutthroats, Trevor Moldin left, Dave Chamberlin right, and a beautiful brown, a 5.25, by Brad Sheridan.
Got a late star with Dennis Yamamoto of Owner and Steve Suveg on Crowley, a little after 7, but picked up a nice fish on the pink Owner Mira-Shad, a skinny fish I hooked that was still all of two pounds. We should have stayed in that area off Sandy, but long story short came back later and picked away on the troll. Water was in the mid-40s in McGee Bay and warmer in the North Arm. We went to bait and Suveg got a couple 3 pounders. Dennis Yamamoto of Owner and Steve Suveg of Hollywood with one of Suveg's better trout. This one was on yellow glitter Power Bait.
We came in in time for the weigh in for the Fred Hall Memorial Trophy but a few guys with big fish didn't. Some folks with big fish didn't come back for the awards. Kevin Neitzke of Saugus was one of the last youngsters to weigh and his 3.6-pound brown caught on a fluorescent green Needlefish won him $200 from Bart Hall plus a Daiwa Rod and Reel from Lane and Beth Garrett of Crowley Lake Fish Camp. He also got some Berkley Trilene line and a hat. Kevin Neitzke with his 3-6 brown that topped the youth division and got him $200 from Bart Hall and a Daiwa rod and reel from Crowley Lake Fish Camp.
Nick Lawrence has been fishing Crowley for 15 years, coming up with his grandfather Gerald Lawrence who has been fishing Crowley for 50 years. Nick nailed a 4-14 1/2 cutthroat on a red Roostertail behind a Dave Davis and won the Fred Hall Memorial adult trophy complete with $500 from Bart, a Daiwa rod and reel, Trilene line and a free mount from Davidson Taxidermy (which makes beautiful trophies, I saw them last night at the press dinner in Bishop).Grandpa Gerald Lawrence and Fred Hall Memorial winner, and grandson, Nick Lawrence with the winning cutthroat trout.
Blue skies and an incredibly beautiful Eastern Sierra morning make the perfect setup for opening day tomorrow. I don't know if I'll be able to get any photos up today, but the plan is to rig up for some fishing and after a run around the June Lake Loop to check things out and head on down to Pleasant Valley Reservoir for a little warm up bait dunking.
Blue skies and one day to go. The view from the front yard.
It was crazy checking out all the activity as the various businesses up here in God's got ready right down to the wire. I dropped by the Trout Fly/Troutfitter after some great powder runs at Mammoth (it must have been insane this morning) and a burger and a beer at Grumpy's Sports Bar and was talking to Granite and Alex as they stocked the shelves. I'll be doing the reports a lot of the weekends this season and wanted to meet the faces behind the voices. I was about to leave (after getting some tips on East Walker River rigs) when owner Kent Rianda came in and there was a big bustle.
"Sorry Rich, but a case of reels didn't come in, but it will be here tomorrow," said Rianda. "Otherwise I would have had a big empty spot on the wall." Rianda said he is booked to guide the first three days of the season on Crowley and will be deep water indicator fishing. He came up with a sliding indicator that makes it easy to fish the 19 to 20 feet the trout like to hang at this time of year.
As I mentioned in yesterday's blog (you can always hit the link above and check it and the photos out) I also went into Ernies and they had tackle scattered everywhere, making the final transition from ski to fish. Traditionally they'll be open all night tonight.
The Fern Creek Lodge, which added a bunch of tackle last year, was closed and they were rearranging their store so that the first thing you walk into is fishing gear, not canned goods. Down the way Silver Lake Resort's store and killer cafe were also in the final stages of preparation to open for the season today.
Before I came up I got an e-mail from Patti at Sabrina and she said their store and coffee shop, complete with homemade pie, opens tomorrow. The lake is all but drained for repairs by So Cal Edison, but there will be plenty of water and Edison always makes sure there are plenty of trout. There are already a bunch of rainbows stacked up in the water that's left.
A bunch of the sportfishing industry is either already here or on the way. Dennis Yamamoto of Owner Hooks made his rounds yesterday and will be hanging out at Crowley today. Crowley figures to be the epicenter of the opener, but don't count out Bridgeport or Lower Twin for the big brown. Speaking of big browns, they notoriously bite best after ice out and for once in a blue moon that will happen on Grant during the season. There's a lot of anticipation, that's for sure.
Speaking of anticipation, the Berkley contingent is arriving in Bishop today and Marlon Meade always hits Bishop Creek just after midnight since night fishing is allowed in Inyo County. The Berkley folks will be all over the Sierra hot spots taking photos and giving out prizes. They'll be at Crowley at 3 p.m. tomorrow for the awards.
We've got Bill Karr covering the Bishop area and the return of Rainbow Days, I'll be at Crowley fishing with Dennis opening day, Pat will cover Convict, Ernie has the Loop and Martin has Bridgeport. And all of it will be in WON this coming week. Some of it will be here, but it does get hectic, so no promises.