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Eastern Sierra

First week of Sierra trout season sees it all

BY ERNIE COWAN/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: May 11, 2018

BRIDGEPORT — Eastern Sierra trout hunters saw everything from snow and cold to tee shirt weather during the first full week of the season, but despite the weather what they found the most was excellent fishing.

anothernbridgeportbigANOTHER BRIDGEPORT BIG — Ron Peterson from Carson City landed this 13-pound, 8-ounce log at Bridgeport Reservoir from a float tube using a 6-weight rod and stripping a Twin Lakes Special Streamer.

Little snow and ice over the winter, excellent water conditions and areas stocked heavily at the end of last season combined for lots of limits and some beefy fish.

Typically, some of the best action was from the waters around Bridgeport where several double-digit fish showed up, including some trophy brown trout.

One of the biggest fish of the week was a 13-pound, 8-ounce rainbow taken at Bridgeport Reservoir by Ron Peterson from Carson City, who fished from a float tube and offered a Twin Lakes Special streamer.

Bridgeport Reservoir was stocked with 4,000 pounds of trout at the close of the season last year, and with no ice this winter, the fish remained active and grew in size.

Unlike last year, water levels at Bridgeport Reservoir are high, the marina has docks out and rental boats available.

“I think the word is out that the fishing here is good, and I have had every rental boat out every day,” said marina operator Chase Pasley.

In addition to the 13-pound rainbow, Pasley said a 10-pound brown was landed over the weekend.

bridgeportreservoirtrophyBRIDGEPORT RESERVOIR TROPHY — There were so many big fish coming out of Bridgeport Reservoir this week that it was hard to keep track, but this 8-pound, 7-ounce brown taken by Terri McGill from Temecula with a Rapala could certainly be called a trophy.

Both of the Bridgeport Twin Lakes also lived up to their early season reputations, producing some footballs, including a 9-pound, 8-ounce brown from Upper Twin Lake. Peter Lang from Sequim, Washington was the lucky angler.

Liam Dillingham at Mono Village on Upper Twin said the bite has been steady with a lot of 4-pound trout being caught.

“Everything seem to be working right now, even PowerBait, and that’s a shock for this early,” Dillingham said.

The story at Lower Twin Lake was similar. R.J. Allen at Twin Lakes Resort said nightcrawlers are the best bet right now, but orange PowerBait has been getting hits from bigger rainbows.

“We are seeing some browns every day, but mostly rainbows,” he said.

The “Miracle Mile” on the East Walker River has been running around 200 cfs and drawing moderate fishing pressure. Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport said despite the crowds, the fishing has been excellent with streamer action picking and nymphing working great as well.

Virginia Lakes still has some ice, but it’s going fast and fishing there should be on fire, but there were no reports this week.

crowleybrowndoubleCROWLEY BROWN DOUBLE — Gilbert Hernandez from Fontana had incredible fishing last week, pulling a 9-pound rainbow at Convict and these two hefty browns at Crowley while trolling a Rapala with leadcore at three colors from his Hobie Kayak.

Wayne Beaver at Beaver’s Sporting Goods in Lee Vining reports that trout bumping 5 pounds are coming out of Lee Vining Creek on Panther Martin’s.

June Lake Loop is in late spring mode, with totally open water on loop lakes, good flows in Rush Creek and plenty of trout being caught.

Silver Lake continues to produce lots of limits, along with some bigger rainbows, as a result of the 4,000 pounds of trout stocked at the end of last season.

Guide Dan Lengning has been pulling in a ton or browns from Grant Lake, with many up to 20 inches. On two evening outings he caught and released 16 browns and no rainbows. An unknown angler hauled in a 9-pound, 8-ounce brown at Grant last week.

Gull Lake has been wide open, with all areas producing fish. Some of the bigger fish are coming to boat and tube anglers off the park area adjacent to the marina.

June Lake continues to fish well, with anglers checking in with both rainbows and some nice cutthroat. George Anderson from El Dorado Hills picked up a 3-pound, 8-ounce cutthroat at June Lake, and Nick DeLarosa from Colton landed a 4-pound, 8-ounce rainbow with Pinched Crawlers.

There is still some ice and snow and the road into the Mammoth Lakes Basin is still closed, but could open as early as this week, according to Jeff Franke at Rick’s Sportscenter.

cuttskeepcomingCUTTS KEEP COMING — The brief arrival of a late spring snowstorm didn’t keep George Anderson off the water at June Lake and he was rewarded with this 3-pound, 8-ounce cutthroat.

The road is open to Twin Lakes, and Franke said he has had good reports of Power Worms working very well on Upper Twin near the falls.

It’s hard to keep up with the fish being caught at Crowley Lake, where conditions are excellent. Boaters, float tube anglers and shore fishermen have all been reporting a great bite.

Gilbert Hernandez from Fontana landed two hefty browns at Crowley while trolling Rapala with leadcore at three colors from his Hobie Kayak. If winds remain calm, look for Crowley to continue to be outstanding for the foreseeable future.

Guides are reporting that fish are spread out all over the lake at Crowley, but most of the action has focused at McGee Bay, Sandy Point, and Alligator point. Garlic PowerBait seems to be the best choice of bait limits.

In addition to his beefy brown from Crowley, Hernandez also landed the big fish of the week at Convict Lake, again using his Rapala from a kayak. His fish weighed in at 9 pounds, 6 ounces and was taken on the North Shore. In addition, it had a tag that earned him $25.

Winter weather in the Bishop Creek Basin just doesn’t want to let go. On May 1, Cardinal Village below Lake Sabrina got another 9.5 inches of snow.

But things are melting fast and the snow apparently did not slow the hot bite.

Patti Apted at Lake Sabrina said their water level is to the launch ramp and they have boats out.

earlyseasonbrownEARLY SEASON BROWN — Peter Lang from Washington started off the Eastern Sierra trout season with this monster 9-pound, 8-ounce brown taken from Upper Twin Lake out of Bridgeport.

“The water is a whole lot higher than we expected,” she said.

Anglers are coming in with good limits, with plenty of fish over 2 pounds in the mix. Apted said the bite is wide open and not confined to any one area.

The road to North Lake is now plowed and open, but so far there have been no reports.

The road to South is also plowed and parking areas cleared. Water levels there are also at the launch ramp, and this means docks and boats should be out for Memorial Day.

“We’ve never done that before, but it’s looking good right now,” said Brett Powell at South Lake Landing.

The lake still has about 90 percent ice, but winds are breaking it up and predicted high temperatures should result in no ice quickly. Open water along the shoreline is allowing anglers good access and Powell said he is seeing lots of limits of more aggressive holdover trout.

grinningatgrantGRINNING AT GRANT — If there is one thing guide Dan Lengning knows how to do it is put clients onto to nice browns. Sean Orpe, 13, from Torrance bundled up against the cold early last week but was quickly warmed after reeling in this beautiful brown at Grant Lake.

holdingthehawgHOLDING THE HAWG — Tim Bagley from Porter Ranch used an inflated nightcrawler on 2-pound line to bring in this healthy rainbow at Crowley Lake. The lake is currently full, conditions are excellent, and the catch has been on fire.

TOOK HIM AWHILE — Ken Harrison from Encinitas has been fishing the opening week for many years and was often blanked. His goal was to catch a fish at least as big as his first one he landed as a kid. This year he did it, hauling in this 3-pound, 1-ounce rainbow at Silver Lake. It only took him 55 years.

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