CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Eastern Sierra Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra in high season for quality and quantity trout fishing

BY ERNIE COWAN/Special to Western Outdoor NewPublished: Oct 02, 2012

JUNE LAKE — This is the season for both quantity and quality for trout fishing ion the Eastern High Sierra. Imagine lakes and streams almost abandoned by other anglers, aspen groves ablaze with fall color and 5-fish limits weighing in at more than 15 pounds. This is fall in the High Country.

The action at June Lake was typical of many areas in the Eastern Sierra. Dawn Gould at June Lake Marina said trolling has turned on there and the fish have come up to about three colors.

Jim Whelan from Los Angeles found that out when he landed 4-pound and 3-pound, 8-ounce rainbows while trolling a Pink Panther Tasmanian Devil lure just off the boat docks in the middle of the lake. Jack Tosono from Hacienda Heights also landed a 3-pound, 8-ounce rainbow while trolling by the beach at the east end of the lake.

Jeremy Ross at Ernie’s Tackle Shop said daytime temperatures are unseasonably warm, but cooler nights has cooled waters enough to excite the fish. He said Silver Lake is producing very well with lots of limits being reported.
Brown trout are continuing to stage at the mouth of Rush Creek at Grant Lake, but have not yet started the upstream spawn. Anglers trolling at the Narrows in Grant Lake are connecting with a few smaller browns weighing up to 3 pounds.
Just about any place you fish around Mammoth Lakes is a good spot.

Jeff Franke at Rick’s Sportscenter said crowds are light, but lots of limits are being reported from Mammoth Basin Lakes. Franke said Lakes Mary and George  but anglers must get out in a tube to find holes in the weeds for best results.

Conditions in the San Joaquin River Canyon around Red’s Meadow have slowed, due to low water levels in the river. Sotcher Lake is showing the best action as it holds some native fish. The shuttle is no longer operational (after Labor Day), so you can drive down and park for an entrance fee.

Crowley Lake is under special 18-inch, 2-fish barbless regs for trout and continues to clear from summer algae and the Six Bays area in the North Arm has been producing very well.  Kent Rianda at The Troutfitter in Mammoth Lakes said the red-hot action at McGee Bay has just about ended and the action has moved north into 5 to 8 feet of water at Green Banks, Six Bays and Leighton Spring.

“The bad news is that the big fish are spread out, so you have to wait between smaller fish to have one come by,” Rianda said.

Anglers are reminded that the Upper Owens River below the Bridge is now closed for the season.

Anglers at Convict Lake are also seeing the action increase as fall creeps into the Sierra. The inlet continues to be a good bet along with trolling to six colors and anglers are reporting lots of 3-pound-plus trout showing up on stringers.

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CONVICT LAKE STRINGER — Les Kanawah from Mira Loma filled her limit at Convict Lake and use nightcrawlers at the South Shore to bring in this 6-pound, 10-ounce limit topped by a 3-pound rainbow.


Glen McElfresh at Rock Creek Lake Resort calls fishing conditions “awesome.”
“We are seeing good numbers of limits and plenty of 3- and 4-pound fish,” McElfresh said. “Best results are a fly and bubble combination with a Marvel Fly at the end. Best bait choice has been nightcrawlers.

The meandering portion of Rock Creek around East Fork Campground is also producing lots of trout, including some larger Alpers rainbows. McElfresh said fly-lined nightcrawlers drifted downstream gets good results.

Fall weather has also triggered the bite in Bishop Creek Canyon. South Lake received a 2,000-pound load of DFG Hatchery trout and that means lots of limits are being caught, according to Jared Smith at South Lake Landing. Additionally, several quality rainbows at 3 to 4 pounds have also been checked.

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LOW WATER LOAD — Water levels at South Lake may be low, but that just means the 2,000 pounds of trout planted last week have less area to spread out. Southern California angler David James displays a nice stringer of rainbows that all topped 2 pounds.


One of the best spots on the South Fork of Bishop Creek is Weir Pond where fly tossers are having a field day on brookies, browns and some rainbows. Tube fishermen should head for North Lake where cooler weather has opened a steady bite for stocked rainbows.

Patti Apted at Lake Sabrina said fall colors have nearly peaked at this high altitude lake, and so has the fishing.

“Catching was good this week for most fishermen, and it should be with the amount of fish the Department of Fish and Game have been putting in weekly,” Apted said.

She said the best action has been a bit out from the inlets with nightcrawlers or lures like a red and gold Thomas Buoyant. Drifting through the channels with nightcrawlers or Power Bait is also producing good catches.

Alpers trout were stocked in Virginia Lakes last week and the beautiful trout wasted no time pleasing anglers. Carolyn Webb at Virginia Lakes Resort said the bite should continue well into October, since additional loads are scheduled through Oct. 11. Big fish of the week was a 4-pound, 2-ounce rainbow landed by Mike Pearson of Temple City with a Woolly Bugger at Little Virginia Lake, but anglers were reporting lots of fish in the 3- to 4-pound range.

Hot spot in the Bridgeport Basin has been Bridgeport Reservoir.

“Finally, the bite is starting. Cooler water is coming in and trolling for browns is picking up,” said Jeffrey Wenger at Bridgeport Marina. “The fish are coming up and everybody is catching.”

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BRIDGEPORT BITE ON — Cooler water is flowing into Bridgeport Reservoir and the bite is on. Carl Kadomoto and his buddies from San Fernando Valley caught and released nearly 20 fish over two days and kept limits for each, including this 4-pound, 8-ounce rainbow that took a nightcrawler.


The browns are still hiding at Twin Lakes where warmer weather has yet to trigger the fall bite. Tom Fazzone at Mono Village on Upper Twin said mornings and evenings are still the best fishing times. Limits are common with trout to 3 pounds, but the best action is still fishing from shore or boats. Trolling has been dead.

Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport reports that the East Walker River is running at 90 cubic per second and fishing has been good. Colder mornings means anglers don’t have to be on the water quite as early and fish are now starting to be more active about 9 a.m.

“We’re still using mainly small midges and some caddis nymphs, though the streamer action is on the rise,” Reid said.

The West Walker is running low and clear, so anglers should be quiet and sneaky to avoid spooking the fish. Small spinners, nightcrawlers and salmon eggs have been working well. Fly-fishermen are having success with small nymphs.

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OWENS EXCELLENCE — Sam Wardlow, 10,  from Northridge caught this fish Friday, Sept 28 at Owens River. The weather was spectacular and the fishing was red hot. “This trout is definitely a catch of a lifetime let alone a 10-year-old,” said his dad.


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