JUNE LAKE — The mild weather that greeted opening day anglers in the Eastern Sierra is continuing, along with a steady bite of trout up to 3 pounds. The bigger fish have yet to get regularly into the game.
But there are always exceptions, and a 7-pound, 8-ounce Hofer trout gobbled a yellow and black Tasmanian Devil lure trolled shallow near the big boulder below the highway along the south side of June Lake by Jeff Ramirez from Riverside. If you haven’t heard of a Hofer trout, it’s a hybrid rainbow trout that is resistant to the deadly whirling disease. Tim Alpers stocked the Hofer trout several years ago.
Dawn Gould at the June Lake Marina said they used to be more common, but this wallhanger must have been a hold over that decided to take the bait. The Hofer has the body of a rainbow, but the head of a brown trout, Gould said.
“Everybody’s catching lots of fish and many are being released and we are even seeing cutthroats up to 3 pounds, but overall we are not yet seeing anything really big,” Gould said.
Jeremy Ross at Ernie’s Tackle in June Lake said crowds are still light during the week, with more activity on weekends. “That will probably continue until Memorial Day when we will start seeing the summer vacation crowds,” he said.
The second weekend of the 2012 trout season was like a second opener, Ross said, with lots of anglers and plenty of full stringers. “Fishermen are catching lots of fish, but we are not seeing much bigger than 2 to two-and-a-half pounds,” Ross said.
Manager Dave Marshel at Gull Lake said the lake was stocked with 451 pounds of Alpers trout averaging about 2 pounds each, but there were some larger fish to 4 pounds in the load.
“The forecast is for nice weather with temperatures into the 70s and if we can keep the wind down, it should be fantastic,” Marshel said.
The story at Silver Lake in the June Loop was about the same with the biggest reported this week a 2-pound, 12-ounce rainbow landed by James Campos from Fontana using Power Eggs.
Paul Steele from Hesperia landed a 3-pound, 15-ounce rainbow at Grant Lake using Power Bait and anglers there also reported catching and releasing as many as 20 fish a day.
Lakes in the Mammoth Basin still have some ice, but Jason Christian at Rick’s Sportscenter said the roads to all basin lakes are now open. Lake George still has lots of ice, there are small areas of open water at Lake Mary and some larger area of open water at Lake Mamie. Twin Lake is wide open.
“The catching is excellent in the limited open water,” Christian said. “Lots of numbers are coming in, but nothing beyond a couple of pounds. Christian said the cold water still has the fish a bit lethargic. Best baits are Berkeley Worms or Minijigs. “I’d work it slow because the fish are not anxious to chase things down,” Christian said.
Conditions on Hot Creek continue to be excellent with steady action on trout to 20 inches, with a few up to 24, according to Ryan Barker at the Troutfitter in Mammoth Lakes. “There’s an epic caddis hatch right at dusk and we are seeing about 50-50 rainbows and browns being caught,” Barker said.
Guides at the Troutfitter report the action on the Upper Owens has been on and off, with bigger trout having moved back into Crowley Lake. Barker said midging in about 13 feet of water at Whiskey Bay, Sandy Point or Leighton Spring has been producing up to 10 fish a day up to 20 inches for most anglers.
Convict Lake and the creek below continue to fish well, with full stringers showing up consistently. Big fish for opening week was a 3-pound rainbow caught by Bill Callahan from Temecula who was tossing nightcrawlers at the North Shoe.
Campgrounds at the lake remain closed, but there is no ice or snow, so anglers have total access to all areas. Power Bait and nightcrawlers have been working well.
CONVICT LAKE HAUL — We don’t their names, but they are known as the Convict Lake Phantoms from Los Angeles and they know how to fish, hauling in this impressive stringer of trout from the South Shore with nightcrawlers and Power Bait.
Waters in the Bridgeport Basin are providing anglers with outstanding fishing action, according to Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods. Lower Twin Lake kicked out the opening day big fish at 8 pounds, 10 ounces, but the big fish remained hidden the past week.
Both Twins has been producing lots of limits in the half-pound to 2-pound range, but nothing much bigger than that has been reported. Trolling with blades and nightcrawlers. Rapala, Thomas Buoyant and Kastmaster lures are all working well. Power Bait, Power Eggs and nightcrawlers are a good bet for the bait tossers.
The big water at Bridgeport Reservoir has been good for both boat and shore anglers, Reid said. The biggest fish this week was a 5-8 rainbow and trollers are using bright colors for the best results. Garlic scents on baits has been working to increase success.
Reid said water temperatures at Bridgeport Reservoir are uniform across the lake, so fish are scattered. Anglers who keep moving until they find action will be the most successful.
Flows on the East Walker have dropped to 87 cubic feet per second and Reid reports the caddis fly action is starting to heat up, but nymphing continues to yield the best results. “I’m expecting a good dry fly season on the river with the lower flows we’re going to have this year,” Reid said.
Spin fishermen are doing well in the lower-than-normal spring flow on the West Walker, with Panther Martin, Rooster Tail, Mepps, eggs and nightcrawlers all bringing in fish.
Virginia Lakes continue to offer ice fishing, but with continued warm weather, it won’t last much longer. Big Virginia still had fishable ice over the weekend, and Little Virginia was very iffy.
Rick Apted at Lake Sabrina said happy anglers are catching lots of DFG stocked trout, but not much is showing up larger than 3 pounds.
“Right now everything seems to be working and just about everyone is catching limits. The action is also spread out, but right here near the parking lot has been hit pretty hard, so get away from that area for better results,” Apted said.
Jared Smith at South Lake Landing said he has still not opened for the season, but he plans to open on May 17 and the lake will be stocked with jumbo Alpers trout to welcome anglers. Anglers at the lake are finding good action for smaller hold-over trout.
Smith said stream flows in Bishop Creek are ideal and some bigger fish are hiding in the pools. For best results, approach the pools quietly and cast ahead or drift bait into the holes to avoid spooking the fish.