Eastern Sierra Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra fishing bounces back following season's first storm

BY MARTIN STRELNECK/WON Staff WriterPublished: Oct 10, 2011

BRIDGEPORT — Wind, rain and high-elevation snowfall put the   brakes on the Eastern Sierra fishing scene the past week, making for challenging conditions for the more popular locations.


The first storm of the season was short-lived, with classic fall weather, warming temperatures, and no wind, rain or snow going into the weekend as the “second season” continues until Nov. 15 when all but a few year-round waters close to fishing.

It sounds like a broken record, but Little Virginia Lake captured the top spot on lastweek’s big-fish leader board. Irvine angler Joe Schugt braved a bone-chilling snow squall to nail down a 6-pound, 1-ounce rainbow. Joe’s trophy took a liking to a red/gold Thomas Buoyant


“The water is getting a lot colder and you have to work for them,” said Carolyn Webb and Virginia Lakes Resort. “ Some of the best catches have been right during the storms.”


 little virginia lake

LITTLE VIRGINIA LAKE continued to kick out heavyweights the past week with Irvine angler weighing in the 6-pound, 1-ounce Alpers that went for a gold and red Thomas Buoyant during a snowstorm. VIRGINIA LAKES RESORT PHOTO


In the Bridgeport area and north, the West Walker River was classified as “on fire” for Alpers heavyweights and DFG stockers. Brown trout to the 24-inch class were reported coming from the East Walker River, with Bridgeport Reservoir slowing a bit from this summer’s wide-open pace.


“The reservoir has slowed down some, but if you’re willing to put in the time, it’s still good for rainbows to around 2 pounds” said Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods. “Inflated nightcrawlers are working best, trolling has been slow.


“The West Walker River around the marine base and near Walker has been wide open and the flow is ideal. I had one report of a 22-inch brown coming from the East Walker this past week. Because of the weather, we haven’t seen a lot of fishermen.”


Upper and Lower Twin Lakes report taking a limit of DFG stockers; a no-brainer even with the inclement weather. The 24-dollar question echoed for all the North Mono County waters has been and still is, “Where are the big browns?”


Farther south, Dan Bell at Bell’s Sporting Goods in Lee Vining cites Lundy Lake good for a limit of DFG stockers with a good number of fish over the 1-pound mark making a showing. No reports from the Tioga Pass waters, Saddlebag, Ellery and Tioga lakes.


In the June Lake Loop, bread ‘n’ butter catches have been a combination of DFG stockers and Alpers rainbows along with a scattering of browns and cutthroats.


I’ve had a lot of reports of 20- to 30-fish days,” said Dawn Gould at June Lake Marina. “Most of the fish are stockers to around 1½ pounds, the cutthroats slowed down this week. Just about any yellow dough bait  is working.”


“We had a couple of good ones come in today,” said Darla Solomon at Gull Lake Marina. “A couple of guys came in with a 5 pounder, just weighed it; we didn’t get their names. Byron Williams from Perris weighed in a 3-pound, 4-ounce rainbow he caught from boat fishing near the reeds with garlic bait. Everybody’s catching stockers.”


“Fishin’s good,” said Andrew Jones at Silver Lake Resort. Lots of limits of stockers along with a good number of Alpers around 2 pounds from last week’s plant. I’ve had reports the browns are starting to move into Rush Creek from Grant (Lake).


Looking at the Mammoth Lakes Basin, Twin Lakes, along with Lakes Mary, George and Mamie, the catching echoes just about all the other high-country waters. DFG stockers are more than plentiful, along with a scattering of Alpers heavyweights.


 This past week’s weather, along with a lack of angler numbers, has been cited as a major factor accounting for a lack of lunkers. Look for an upswing this week with the agenda calling for a plant of Alpers “superstockers” running up to the 3-pound mark.


Convict Lake Resort reports the same full-stringer scenario, a mixture of DFG stockers along with a fair share of Alpers.


An algae bloom continues to be a problem at Crowley Lake with trolling limited to areas of clear water. Fly anglers are scoring occasional impressive catches working those locations, mostly inlets clear of algae until the breeze pushes the “green gunk” back in. Hopefully the colder temperatures will bring an end to the cycle.


“It’s up and down, it all depends on the wind,” said Brennan Turner at the Mammoth Lakes-based Troutfitter. “Fishing early is the best working the upper end around Green Banks with streamer patterns.”


Looking at the Bishop high-country waters, reports indicate catching isn’t any problem at just about any location, with mostly stockers mixed in with an occasional Alpers around 3 pounds.


“We had some rough weather the middle of the week, but it’s calmed down, the past couple of days’ conditions have been ideal,” said Jared Smith at Parcher's Resort. “On South Lake we’re seeing plenty of limits, mostly bait, trolling’s been a little tougher. Just about any dough bait, minijigs and nightcrawlers are all working.”


“The south fork of Bishop Creek has been great for stockers and is holding at a good flow. Weir Pond is the spot for fly fishing with streamers and nymphs producing. Intake II has been good from shore near the dam. We haven’t had any reports from North Lake.”

If you’re into a little warmer temperature, lower elevation waters near Bishop and throughout the Owens Valley are a good bet.


“The reservoir (Pleasant Valley) is a good bet for a limit of DFG fish,” said Dave Smith at Culvers Sporting Goods. “We haven’t seen any big browns yet, but they’re due to start showing. The river (Lower Owens) is a challenge, as it’s still running high.”


Going into the late season, several popular high-elevation resorts are closing down for the season. Closing down this week are Virginia Lakes and Rock Creek Lake resorts.


Already down until next season are Saddlebag Lake Resort and Lundy Lake Resort. As long as the weather holds, access to these locations isn’t a problem but don’t expect shirt-sleeve temperatures.


Predictions are the “Indian summer” weather pattern will hold well into next week with temperatures hitting the 80-degree-plus mark in the Bishop area and the high-60s at higher elevations.

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