Waters Are Primed, weather big question
JUNE LAKE — Going into four days before Saturdays opener, high country waters are in prime conditions, but Mother Nature has thrown a curve ball with unsettled weather.
Long range weather predictions are calling for erodes of rain and snow showers over opening weekend. On the other hand, in the past 55-years I've never seen a little cold and wind causing lockjaw with the trout population.
Overall, with a few exceptions, despite four years of drought water conditions are excellent thanks to this winters near average snowfall. All waters below 8,000-foot have been ice free since mid-March. The majority of landings and resorts are in full operation and roads are in good condition. Barring any major storm issues, the majority of campgrounds will be up and running.
If ice fishing is on the agenda, conditions could be iffy. Some waters have been in a thawing mode with the past week of warm weather. Others have remained ice covered, but are in a thawing mode making for hazardous conditions. In the words of John Webb at Virginia Lake Resort, "I wouldn't go out on them."
The Virginia Lakes Road is scheduled to open along with the Rock Creek Lake Road. State Route 120 (Tioga Pass Road) is on the opening schedule for early this past week as far as the Yosemite National Park entrance station, and closed in the park. The Mammoth Lakes Basin road is on schedule for a May 10 opener and is clear to Lower Twin Lake, which is ice free.
Looking at the low water picture, Bridgeport Reservoir Marina is off the launching site agenda with only a few feet of water in the basin. The marina and RV park will be operating with rental boats available at the beach area. The only launching location will be at the "Bath Tub," a short distance west of the dam. This location has proven adequate for the past couple of years.
Grant Lake is on the low side with the improved launch site high and dry. However, operator Doug Smith advises launching for smaller craft at the landing could be possible with a four wheel drive vehicle. The RV park is in full operation.
Lake Sabrina is scheduled to be up and running. Lake Sabrina Boat Landing will have rental boats and the cafe will be in operation.
South Lake remains very low. The landing will be closed with only access to fishable water by hiking to the lake.
Stream levels have been on the rise this week. The West Walker River was flowing high and off color late last week. The Lower Owens River in the Bishop area was high because of releases from Crowley Lake. Opening day status is unknowns at this time.
For updated information contact the National Weather Service, www.wrh.noaa.gov/rev; www.mammothweather.com.
Road information — CalTrans (800) 427-7621.
Campgrounds — Inyo National Forest, Conway Summit south — (760) 873-2500.
Toiyabe National Forest, Conway Summit north — (760) 932-7070.