EASTERN SIERRA REPORT
Big fish was 8-pound, 1-ounce rainbow
BISHOP—Absolutely phenomenal weather greeted Easter Sierra opener anglers over the weekend—blue skies, no wind and temperatures in the mid- to high-70s—but again this year, the streets of Bishop were not clogged with boats, trailers and campers, although the turnout was still good. Fishing was rated fair to good, mostly due to the huge snowpack and cold water conditions.
Of course, those anglers who got on a pile of fish considered the opener "great," and so did long-time WON subscriber Kevin Lord of Temecula, who worked up the South Fork Bishop Creek with a Berkley Power Jig and caught and released lots of fish, including an 8-pound, 1-ounce rainbow that he kept. That fish ended up winning for largest fish at the Rainbow Trout Festival held in the Bishop Park opening day, put on by the Chamber of Commerce and Lions Club.
The huge snowpack was a major detriment to the DFG in planting trout, and also to anglers, as there was far too much snow for access to many of the normal "fishing holes" along both the South Fork and North Fork Bishop Creek. In fact, the road was closed to South Lake at Parcher's Resort, although that didn't stop an estimated 40 carloads of anglers to park along the road and hike to the lake.
There was only foot traffic to the Weir Pond, which was said to be open, but we didn't find anyone who fished it, so the Weir, and the upper stretches of South Fork Bishop Creek will be prime fishing with a little more snowmelt. Fishing at South Lake, according to Ryan Palmer of Fillmore, one of a group of 15, was good until sunup, and then it slowed. They were fishing near the dam, through the ice, and caught fish on everything, but mostly Kastmasters with a worm, Power Worms and straight worms. They did catch limits of mostly rainbows and a few browns, and the biggest fish was about a pound.
Despite the blockade of snow higher up the creek, the DFG planter trucks did get to a few of the normal trout plant locations from Four Jefferey's, where they dumped five baskets of fish, up to about Bishop Creek Lodge. From there up, it seemed there had been no trout plants due to snow accumulation.
It was similar over on North Fork Bishop Creek where lots of snow made access to the river for planting nearly impossible, so fishing success was pretty much limited to holdovers.
Lake Sabrina had been drained all the way down for dam repairs, but there were still two small "lakes" within the original lake area, where ice fishermen did well, and the original streambed still held the flows of North Fork right at the dam itself, and this writer could see schools of fish being worked over by anglers from the top of the dam. They were biting most everything.
This reporter talked to a group of 7 anglers in the Lake Sabrina parking lot, who had just returned from ice fishing one of the remaining small "lakes", and they reported very good fishing—for all but one of them.
Evan Snellings of San Bernardino made the report for all of them, most belonging to the Snelling family, and he said they had caught 6 limits for the 7 anglers. They were mostly rainbows but with a few browns mixed in, and the largest was 14 inches. They used "most everything" to catch the fish through the ice, but Pautzke's salmon eggs and Power Worms accounted for most. The lone angler who didn't catch anything, John Person, said he just couldn't figure out what went wrong!
Intake Two was crowded with anglers early, as usual, with cars parked all the way out to the highway, but by 11 it was pretty cleared out, and only two anglers were on the dam and flume, and there were plenty of empty spots along the shore.
Fly anglers at Intake Two had good and bad luck. Ted Knittel of Palmdale had been float tubing all morning, using an olive green Woolly Bugger and his partners had been using the same and a Kastmaster, and between them they had only caught one fish. Down the bank a ways, however, Brad Clark of Chino HIlls had also been tubing, but he had been using the Berkley Atomic Power Tubes and had a limit of fish, including one nice one.
Bait anglers, however, seemed to do much better at Intake Two, and Steve Duncan and Robyn Poirier of Lake Elsinore were using Power Bait and Power Worms in orange and yellow Power Bait, they had had four fish apiece, and were playing catch-and-release. Others had limits or near limits, but not big fish, as Southern California Edison had opted not to pay for the plant of big fish this year.
The Owens River was flowing high, bank-to-bank, and swift, and had not received any DFG plants for some time, as it was still being studied for environmental impact studies—this time looking for the willow flycatcher—but it had been cleared by Thursday, and was planted on Friday before the opener. Even so, the high water made fishing difficult.
Saturday festivities in downtown Bishop at the city park for the Rainbow Trout Festival included a live band, DFG stream interpretation center and fish aquarium, coloring for the kids, casting tests, sign-ups for a 50/50 cash raffle, and of course, displays of the fish caught by everyone for contest consideration. Great rod/reel combinations and other gifts were given out to the winners of each category.
For those who didn't come up for the opener, the best is yet to come, as warmer weather melts the snow, opens the roads, improves access for the DFG plant trucks, and more importantly, warms the water so the fish won't be so lethargic, and will be more prone to feed.
This writer stayed at the Best Western Creekside Motel in Bishop, and found the private outside entrance a big help when it came to loading and unloading the truck, and their early morning breakfast was a great way to start each day. Add to that the luxurious accommodations and WIFI, and it was a home away from home. We ate at our usual hangout, Jack's Restaurant, and had a phenomenal dinner at Yamatani Japanese Restaurant at 635 North Main St. It was an amazing culinary experience!
The Eastern Sierra trout season has begun, and will only get better!
For more information on the Bishop Area, visit the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centerat www.bishopvisitor.com, or stop by at 690 North Main Street, Bishop, Ca. 93514. Or call them at (760) 873-8405.
EASTERN SIERRA FORM CHARTS/BISHOP
BISHOP CREEK, North Fork—The water was cold, cold, cold and the trout were lethargic. Major snowpack along the creek kept almost the entire stretch from being planted by the DFG, as there just weren't many fish in most of the normal "holes". Poor fishing.
BISHOP CREEK, South Fork—Major snowpack had the road closed at Parchers, and the area from about Bishop Creek Lodge to Parchers had too much snow for the DFG to access for planing trout, so it was slim pickin's. But the bottom stretch had good numbers of trout, especially at the entrance to Four Jefferey's Campground, and in the Bishop Creek Lodge area itself. Big Alpers were also available as evidenced by the 8-pound, 1-ounce rainbow that won the Bishop Rainbow Trout Festival, caught by Kevin Lord of Temecula.
INTAKE TWO—Loaded with DFG planter rainbows, but no Alpers, since the power company didn't buy any this year. Bait anglers from shore and float tubers using jigs did far better than actual flies, like the normally productive olive woolly bugger. Good action came on Pautzke's salmon eggs, Power Bait, Gulp!, jigs and more.
NORTH LAKE—Only a handful of cars parked on the main road, as the road to the lake was closed, as usual. And no reports at all. The very few anglers didn't make their success rates known.
OWENS RIVER, Laws Bridge—Very high flows, cold and fast, kept success rates way down, especially combined with no DFG plants for weeks, since they didn't finalize the environmental surveys until the Thursday before season, and didn't stock until Friday. This should be a great bet for those coming up from now on
SABRINA, LAKE—The lake has been drained for dam repairs, but there were two smaller ice-covered "lakes" with the impoundment, and both produced easy limits of mostly rainbows and some browns through the ice. Most any bait or small lure worked. Nothing big, however.
SOUTH LAKE—Anglers who made the 1.2 mile hike to the lake from Parchers, where the road was closed, warmed up with a good trout bite. Anglers interviewed had limits of mostly rainbows with some browns caught on Kastmasters with a worm, and Power Bait. The largest fish was about a pound.
South Fork Bishop Creek Kevin Lord 8-lb., 1-oz. rainbow
Unknown Temecula Berkley Power Jig
South Fork Bishop Creek Catherine Gonzales 2-lb., 11-oz. rainbow
Unknown Temecula worm
Crowley Lake Kris Robert 5-lb., 7 ½-oz. brown
Unknown unknown unknown
Crowley Lake Rich Nye 2-lb., 13-oz. brown
Unknown Unknown Unknown