Eastern Sierra

Eastern Sierra: Trout waters thawing out

BY ERNIE COWAN/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jun 19, 2019

BISHOP — It’s taken about as long as anyone can remember, but higher elevations lakes are quickly clearing of winter ice and opening to eager trout hunters. The arrival of warmer weather has kicked of a quick melt-off of the snowpack, turning Lake Sabrina and South Lake from dry rocks near the dam to an actual lake.

“And just like that we have a Lake,” said Patti Apted at Lake Sabrina.

That means boats are out and anglers no longer have to hike to the back of the lake to the two natural pools. Apted said the Dingleberry and George inlets are still hot spots, but anglers should not overlook the narrows where water is flowing between the two natural lakes. David Mosqueda fished the narrows with PowerBait and landed a nice, 2-pound rainbow. With water rising, DFW can now get down to the lake and it should have been stocked this week.

almost10poundsALMOST 10 POUNDS — Ed Longstreth from Nipomo had a very good day at Upper Twin Lake in Bridgeport, landing this monster brown weighing in at 9 pounds, 12 ounces and taken with a Super Duper.

South Lake is just about 100 percent ice free with just some remaining ice pushed up against the dam, according to Jared Smith at South Lake Landing.

The lake is coming up nearly two feet a day, so Smith hopes to have boats out this week if weather conditions remain favorable.

“There is currently open water by the launch ramp, Boiler Cove and the inlet.
This may have been the hottest fishing spot in the canyon over the weekend with nightcrawlers being the best bait and pink/white Mice Tails also accounting for a few fish,” Smith said.

Bishop Creek flows are now high because of the runoff, but there are deeper pools that are fishable and, more importantly, holding fish.

Speaking of high flows, Andre Nersesian at the Country Kitchen in Big Pine reports that Big Pine Creek is now blown out because of dramatic increases in flows.

“Baker Creek is still good for trout up to 2 pounds and Big Pine backcountry is thawing out and fishing well for brookies and browns,” he said. Taboose and Tinemaha creeks are good for limits of planters, but the Owens River is high and murky for trout, but bass and catfish are showing up along with some monster carp down by Tinemaha.

Rock Creek Lake is wide open, at last, and so far, the fishing has been good for limits of DFW trout. The lake was scheduled for stocking again this week.

Glenn McElfresh at Rock Creek Lake Resort said the best fishing has been near the boat docks.

FEELS LIKE SUMMER — It’s taken forever, but summer has finally arrived in the Eastern Sierra and Mike Lewin from Thousand Oaks enjoyed the weather along with this 6-pound, 8-ounce football he caught at June Lake with chartreuse PowerBait.

“Wading out about 10 yards is the secret,” he said. The best offerings include Blue Dun and Mosquito flies, salmon eggs and nightcrawlers, along with red/gold Thomas Buoyants. “No one seems to be catching anything with PowerBait, just like last year,” McElfresh said. Higher elevations above Rock Creek Lake still have ice and snow, but there is open water and things are thawing quickly.

Mammoth Lakes Basin is also starting to look more like summer, but at press time the roads into the lakes were still closed. WON editor Mike Stevens, who is enjoying a few days of fishing in the area, reported that the roads have been plowed and the lakes are clear, but creeks are flowing high and are stained.

Anglers willing to hike in are catching fish, however.

The folks at Crystal Creek Lodge on Lake Mary sent us a great photo of Mike Lara from Los Angeles with 3-pound, 2-ounce rainbow he caught with salmon PowerBait. He was also surrounded by a snowpack still about 5 feet deep.

Convict Lake reports anglers, “have been slamming limits this week with Pinched Crawlers and inflated nightcrawlers.” Included in those limits have been lots of 3-pound-plus rainbows.

Trolling slow and down five to nine colors with a Tasmanian Devil or Needlefish has been connecting with some of the bigger fish at Convict Lake. Crowley Lake has been good for bait fishing and trolling, but a Daphnia bloom has made fly fishing pretty grim, according to guide Jim Elias. This should last for another week or so.

OVER THE RAINBOW — Not sure who his friends are, but Lee Fonville from Yountville obviously has good luck, including the catch of this 4-pound, 6-ounce rainbow at Lower Twin Lake using an inflated nightcrawler.

The North Arm has been good for bait dunkers, with some action in McGee and Hilton bays, with nightcrawlers, Pinched Crawlers and Mice Tails producing fish. Guides at Shon E Guide Service recommend moving to waters of different depths if you are not getting hits. Guides at KJ Flashers are reporting decent trolling with Tasmanian Devils, Needlefish and Rapalas on the 395 side of McGee Bay, Sandy and Alligator points and in the harbor down to Beaver Cove.

Fishing at waters in the June Lake Loop continues to be steady with good limits, along with some bigger fish showing up. June Lake kicked out a 6-pound, 8-ounce rainbow to Mike Lewin from Thousand Oaks, who was using chartreuse PowerBait. Some beautiful cutthroat to 4 pounds were also checked in.

Cameron Wheeler at Gull Lake Marina said mostly stockers and a few larger trout to 4 pounds have been in creels recently. The lake is scheduled for a load of trophy trout on June 28. Drifting across the middle of the lake while towing a Mice Tail or nightcrawler has been successful.

Silver Lake was scheduled for stocking this week, but high runoff of cold water into the lake has kept the bite on the slower side, according to Andrew Jones at Silver Lake Resort. Despite that, good numbers of 2- to 3-pound fish were checked, with nightcrawlers, dough baits, Mice Tails and Pinched Crawlers getting interest. The best lure has been a Thomas Buoyant in red/gold.

Grant Lake continues to be good for browns in the 16- to 20-inch range late in the evenings. Shore fishing has also produced limits of rainbows with traditional baits. Highway 120 into Yosemite from Lee Vining is still not open, but anglers can drive to Ellery and Tioga Lakes. Wayne Beaver at Beaver’s Sporting Goods in Lee Vining said Ellery still has ice, but some nice brook trout are being caught in the open water at both ends of the lake. The road to Saddlebag is still closed because of thick snow. Lee Vining Creek is running really hard, Beaver said, but anglers are catching rainbows to 3 pounds.

parkerlakePARKER LAKE STRINGER — Rudy Godoy from Rialto made the short hike to Parker Lake from the June Lake Loop and used nightcrawlers to connect with this nice stringer of mostly browns.

High runoff is bringing Lundy Lake up quickly, along with lots of mud and debris.

“But it’s fishable and they are catching some nice Desert Springs trophies that were stock recently,” Beaver said.

That noise you here around Virginia Lakes is Carolyn Webb at Virginia Lakes Resort doing a happy dance now that they are open for business. The lakes are free of ice, but cold. Look for a good bite here once the fish realize the season is on. Waters around Bridgeport continue to produce some of the best trout fishing in the Sierra right now.

Upper Twin Lake kicked out a 9-pound, 12-ounce brown for Ed Longstreth from Nipomo, who was tossing a Super Duper. Fishing has been excellent at Lower Twin Lake with a steady stream of 3- to 5-pound fish checked in. Lee Fonville from Yountville used an inflated nightcrawler to entice a 4-pound 6-ounce rainbow.

Bridgeport Reservoir continues to produce an epic bite for trout to nearly 8 pounds. Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods said trolling has been successful with Needlefish, nightcrawlers, Thomas Buoyant and Rapala along the East Walker River Channel. Bait fishing has been strong with Pinched Crawlers, inflated nightcrawlers, Mice Tails and PowerBait, with even some action for shore anglers down by the dam.

thanksforhelpingTHANKS FOR HELPING — Gary Walker is President of Fishin’ Mission and it has been a big supporter of the Bridgeport Fish Enhancement Foundation. He was able to get out on Bridgeport Reservoir and is being congratulated by BFEF President Ray Robles for landing this 3-pound, 7-ounce rainbow with PowerBait.

troutoniceTROUT ON ICE — He had to walk in, but it was worth it for Mike Lara from Los Angeles, who used salmon PowerBait to hook this 3-pound, 2-ounce rainbow at Lake Mary. Notice the 5-foot snowbank behind him?

ICE IS GONE — Chris Joslyn from Rio Grande got the season going quickly at Little Virginia Lake with this 5-pound, 3-ounce rainbow he caught with worm. The ice cleared last week and Virginia Lakes Resort is now open for business.

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