Dave Stephenson from Arcadia:
“This is my 42nd opener and I’ve seen a lot of good ones,
but this is as nice as it gets.”
JUNE LAKE scenic view.
JUNE LAKE — Trout hunters in the June Lake Loop may have wondered if opening day had been moved to summer. Temperatures were warm, there was no wind, ice or snow, stream flows were mild and smaller trout were ready to rumble. But the big boys were not showing much interest.
Opening day anglers often battle foul weather, ice, snow, swift streams and lethargic fish, but loop lakes have been free of ice for months and the fish have been active and feeding regularly. The result was that recently stocked fish were eager to take bait and lures, but the larger hold over trout were staying deep and not showing much interest in what was being offered. Just like summertime.
Despite the lack of trophy fish, the incredible weather and steady bite had a lot of anglers smiling.
“When it’s miserable and cold and fishermen are not catching fish you get a lot of cranky people on opening day, but today, everybody’s happy,” said Andrew Jones at Silver Lake Resort.
From June Lake to Grant Lake, the talk was about the weather, with veterans of opening day calling this one of the most unusual openers in recent memory.
“I’ve never seen an opening day like this,” said Dave Cunningham at the June Lake Marina. “I see fish feeding on the surface and trolling to four colors is catching fish. It’s more like early summer.”
Temperatures at dawn were a bit chilly in the mid 30’s, but with sunrise came a quick rise in temperatures with the thermometer reaching the mid 60’s during the day. By 10 a.m., anglers were basking in the warm sunlight in t-shirts and shorts.
Lots of fish were being caught early, but it soon looked like it might be a challenge to reel in the bigger trophies.
Mickie Frederickson at June Lake said it looks like the big fish have been feeding well for weeks and are staying deep.
“I don’t see the big fish biting until a bit later,” she said.
GULL LAKE scenic view.
Dave Marshel, manager at Gull Lake Marina, said the trout there have been feeding aggressively for at least three weeks and that mild weather has produced early inset hatches that have been expanding in size. “There’s lots of natural food,” Marshal said.
Crowds this year were up from last year, and Frederickson said she had twice as many private boats launched as last year and all of her rental boats were out.
“It just doesn’t look as busy because the lake is wide open and people are spread out all over,” she said.
The first notable fish of the day was landed at Gull Lake when David Lozano from Arcadia brought in a 4-pound, 2-ounce brown he took with a nightcrawler. That fish stayed at the top of the chart until late in the afternoon when Ken Dubiel from Lancaster checked in a 5-pound, 1-ounce rainbow from Gull Lake. He landed it while trolling a red and gold Thomas Buoyant lure and ended up as big fish winner of the annual June Lake Monster Trout Contest.
Anglers were reporting full stringers throughout the day, but the big fish were continuing to be elusive. Even trolling was not getting much interest from bigger fish.
Shortly after noon, Dave Stephenson from Arcadia brought in a 3-pound, 2-ounce rainbow taken with a trolled Rapala at June Lake and he was pleased with his catch.
“This is my 42nd opener and I’ve seen a lot of good ones, but this is as nice as it gets,” he said.
GRANT LAKE scenic view.
Jamie Voettz from Saugus has been fishing the same spot on Grant Lake with her family since the 1980’s and was showing off a nice stringer of brown trout as she raved about the weather.
“This is the best weather I’ve seen in years and I also got my first limit,” she said.
SILVER LAKE scenic view.
Andrew Jones at Silver Lake said this was the first year in three years that he was able to have rental boats out because of the lake being free of ice. And despite the fact that the largest fish taken at Silver Lake only weighted 2 pounds, 13 ounces, Jones said anglers seemed happy with the steady action.
“I think everyone wants the trophy fish, but they are also happy when they are just catching fish, and we were seeing a lot of that here today,” he said.
Ken Harrison from Cardiff fished Silver Lake with his sons Johnny, 14, and Trevor, 11. Both boys out fished their dad, with Johnny filling a five fish and Trevor landing three, while dad only scored two. This was Ken Harrison’s 12th opener and he called the weather and the fishing “outstanding.”
Rush Creek was also flowing at levels far below traditional opening day flows. Jones said anglers were checking fish from Rush Creek weighing up to two pounds, but nothing much larger than that.
David Dutchen from La Habra did hook something large enough in Rush Creek to snap his line and his rod
“I was tossing a worm and got a sharp bite and when I went to set the hook he just snapped it off,” Dutchen said. This was his first opener and he finished the day with two other trout from Rush Creek.
Opening day of trout season for 2012 will be remembered as one of the best because of the mild weather and steady bite. Anglers looking for the big fish will just have to come back later in the season.
A LITTLE HELP — Okay, maybe a net is not needed, but Rick Boomhower from Simi Valley brings in a Silver Lake rainbow with the help of a friend during opening morning steady action. WON PHOTOS BY ERNIE COWAN
SILVER LAKE VIEW — With spectacular views like this and summer-like weather, it didn’t seem to matter to most anglers that the big fish were not biting in the June Loop. Julia Crawford from Paramount is all smiles as she waits for the next bite.
THE TROUT BUSTERS — It’s a family affair and has been for 20 some years for the Andrews Family who call themselves “The Trout Busters.” Bud, from Santa Barbara, Jeff and Will from Modesto and Jerry from Idaho proved they can catch fish with this nice stringer on June Lake opening morning.
JUNE LAKE KEEPER — Trolling the middle of June Lake opening morning was a good bet for Dave Stephenson of Arcadia who landed this 3-pound, 2-ounce rainbow with a Rapala. This was his 42nd opener and about the best weather he could remember.
HE’S A FISHERMAN — Wyatt Gonzales, 9, from Chino is all smiles with this nice stringer of rainbows he caught with white Power Bait in the reeds at the back cove of Gull Lake on opening morning.
GRANT LAKE BROWN — Two nice browns are part of the nearly full stringer caught by Wesley Murrey from Chino Hills who was fishing at the back end of Grant Lake opening morning. He was using nightcrawler brown Power Bait and enjoying his 15th opener.
OPENING DAY BROWNS — She has to share the credit with her husband, but Jamie Voeltz from Saugus is proud of this stringer of brown trout they caught at Grant Lake opening day. The family has been fishing the same location since the 1980s.