Eastern Sierra

Eastern Sierra: Bigs continue to fill stringers

BY ERNIE COWAN/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Aug 07, 2019

MAMMOTH LAKES — Depending on who you talk with, the Eastern Sierra summer trout bite might have slowed in some areas, but there is no arguing that bigger fish are showing up on a regular basis.

Spring and summer are normal times for the real trophy trout to show up in Sierra waters, but last week saw a triple-digit rainbow, a monster brown and boat loads of 4- to 6-pound fish being caught.

fortyyearsfishingFORTY YEARS FISHING — Arle Alsky is 97, and he’s been fishing the Sierra for 40 years, but still all smiles after hooking this beauty while trolling a Tasmanian Devil at Grant Lake with his friend Kenny.

Biggest trout of the week was the 10-pound rainbow taken by Chuck Warrick who was fishing from a boat at Lake Mary. He didn’t provide any information about his catch, other than a great photo.

If there is a summer slump, it’s only during the heat of the day.

“There’s a lot of fish in the lakes, but also a lot of traffic from boats, kayaks, paddle boards and swimmers, so the best bet is to be out very early and late,” said Rick Flamson at Rick’s Sports Center. “When everyone else is thinking dinner, you should be thinking fish.”

Lake George has also been producing well the past few weeks, including a 4-pound, 12-ounce rainbow taken by Janet Foy from Tustin with a pink and white Mice Tail, and a 3-pound, 4-ounce rainbow taken by Steve Jones, 12, from Anaheim with salmon eggs under a bobber . . . yes you read that right.

Flows have now dropped on the San Joaquin River around Red’s Meadow and its game on for 6- to 9-inch wild trout using just about any dry fly you want, Flamson said.

Bait season has ended at Crowley Lake, but the bite with unscented, barbless artificials has been good for trollers and fly-fishing. Anglers should be aware of the daily limit of two trout, 18 inches or larger.

According to guides at KJ Flashers, best spots are along the 395 side of McGee bay near the sunken lakes, McGee bay outside of the fly fishing crew, Sandy and Alligator points, in front of the harbor down to Beaver Cove, Chalk Bluffs and Crooked Creek.

southlakespecialSOUTH LAKE SPECIAL — Marlon Meade is paid to fish. He’s a rep for Berkley and apparently practices what he preaches, connecting with this 6-pound holdover rainbow while fishing at Mice Tail at the back end of South Lake. Jared Smith, operator of South Lake Landing, is also all smiles because this fish ties as the heaviest of the season.

Fishing at Convict Lake has been called “steady,” but that’s never a bad thing when anglers check in with lots of 3- to 4-pound-plus trout.

South Shore was very active with a wide variety of baits, and red/gold Thomas Buoyants for the bigger fish.

Trolling at the inlet and near the jetty with Tasmanian Devil and black Roostertails were also a big hit.

Salmon eggs were connecting with some larger trout in Convict Creek, along with Gulp! Power Worms, and Minijigs.

Rock Creek Canyon is a little slice of heaven right now, with campgrounds open, good fishing in the creek, Rock Creek Lake well stocked with DFW and trophy rainbows, and an aggressive bite at nearby backcountry lakes for wild browns, brookies and rainbows.

Jim King at Rock Creek Lake Resort sent us a photo of John Beard from Bakersfield showing off a 4-pound, 6-ounce rainbow that he enticed with a Mice Tail. King said Mice Tails have been the hot ticket at the lake recently.

Just like Rock Creek, Bishop Creek Canyon has tons of variety for all types of anglers. Boats on South Lake and Sabrina, tubes at North Lake or Intake II, good creek fishing in the forks of Bishop Creek and access to spectacular backcountry lakes.

The biggest fish out of the basin last week was a 6-pound rainbow caught by Marlon Meade. We’re not sure it count’s because he’s paid to fish as a representative of Berkley, and we’re just jealous. At any rate, the big fish swallowed a Berkley Mice Tail (ya think?) that Meade was tossing at the back end of South Lake.

bumpingthe10sBUMPING THE 10’S — This double-digit rainbow was caught at Lake Mary in Mammoth Lakes by Chuck Warrick, but no one was able to get information about what he used for the catch the 10-pound rainbow.

Patti Apted at Lake Sabrina said a few thunderstorms last week didn’t seem to bother the bite, with anglers pulling in several 3- to 5-pound-plus rainbows.

Biggest of the week was a 5-pound, 8-ounce rainbow. Jigs, Rapala, garlic Pinched Worms and spinners all seemed to work.

Waters in the June Lake Loop continue to do their fair share of contributing big fish.

Big fish from June Lake last week was a 5-pound rainbow landed by Mark Arakawa from La Palma who was dunking a Mice Tail in about 25 feet of water by the Marina.

Gull Lake had the best action for 3- to 4-pound rainbows in deeper water off the Marina, and Silver Lake had top catch with an 8-pound, 5-ounce brown caught by Frank Fernandez from Moorpark who was trolling with a Thomas Buoyant.

Grant Lake guide Dan Lengning said a load of 3- to 5-pound rainbows arrived last week, and the evening bite continues for good numbers of both rainbows and browns to 20 inches.

When he says evenings, Lengning means it. Most of the pictures he sends are taken at just about dark.

alrightlittlemanALRIGHT LITTLE MAN — He’s only 4, but apparently Dylan Durston from Rancho Cucamonga is quite the fisherman. He hooked this 5-pound, 4-ounce rainbow at Little Virginia Lake with a Mice Tail.

The folks at Beaver’s Sporting Goods in Lee Vining have good news. There are not services this year at Saddlebag Lake, but anglers are catching some nice hold over fish to nearly 4 pounds.

Tioga Lake is also producing limits, but nothing huge. Lee Vining Creek continues to hold some trophy rainbows, along with good numbers of DFW stockers. Flows have dropped to fishable levels, and water temperatures of still cold enough to keep fish active.

Lundy Lake is filled, and waters have cleared. Fishing has been excellent for trout to 4 pounds for both boat and shore anglers.

The high-country Virginia Lakes continue to be prime. Carolyn Webb at Virginia Lakes Resort said basin lakes were stocked with both DFW and trophy rainbows last week.

Webb said nightcrawlers, real or artificial, are working, along with Mice Tails. A few fish have come in on Marshmallows and salmon eggs. Thomas Buoyants, Roostertails and Tasmanian Devils are good lure choices.

Biggest fish last week was a 5-pound, 4-ounce rainbow taken at Little Virginia Lake with a Mice Tail offered by young Dylan Durston, 4, from Rancho Cucamonga.

Bridgeport area waters also offer anglers a lot of fishing variety on waters well stocked with trophy Bridgeport Fish Enhancement Foundation trout.

Bridgeport Reservoir is the big water that continues to kick out good numbers of fish into the 20-inch-plus range.

REEL TIME FUN — John Beard from Bakersfield had a good day at Rock Creek Lake, reeling in this 4-pound, 6-ounce rainbow that he enticed with a Mice Tail.

Mice Tails have been hot at the lake recently.

Biggest of the week was a 6.34-pound rainbow caught with a nightcrawler by Doug Steel from Boise, Idaho who commented that it took him 40 years to land a fish that size. It was not a complaint.

Best fishing at Bridgeport has been from boats and that has included a few Kokanee over 2 pounds that were checked in. Best action has been in Buckeye Bay and off of Rainbow Point.

Continuing prime water conditions have kept the action strong at both Upper and Lower Twin lakes.

“There are some anglers reporting some good rainbows up to 5 pounds-plus and a few nice browns to nearly 4 pounds,” said Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport.

Early mornings at the Twins has been good for bait anglers offering Thomas Buoyant and Kastmasters.

TOOK 40 YEARS — Doug Steel from Boise, Idaho, said it took him 40 years to catch a fish like this 6.34-pound rainbow he landed at Bridgeport Reservoir while dunking nightcrawlers at the Robinson Creek Inlet, but he’s not complaining.

bridgeportfirsttimerBRIDGEPORT FIRST TIMER — Caroline Wise, 24, came all the way from Maryland to fish Bridgeport Reservoir with her cousin Will Clayton, owner of Jolly Cone in Bridgeport. She’s all smiles after hauling in this 4-pound, 13-ounce rainbow with PowerBait on her first fishing trip.

thomasbuoyanttrollTHOMAS BUOYANT TROLL — Frank Fernandez from Moorpark caught a beautiful 8-pound, 5-ounce brown while trolling at Silver Lake with a Thomas Buoyant.

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