By Johnjay Crawford
It’s time to dust off the tackle box, put some new line on your reels, and let the daydreaming begin.
The days until the 2015 Eastern Sierra general trout season opener on April 25 will be getting longer and the trout will be getting hungrier. With a little over four weeks until “Fishmas,” whether you fly fish the East Walker River, troll Crowley Lake, or ice fish Rock Creek Lake, the excitement is surely building in all of us and the waters are primed with anxious trout just waiting to test your angling skills.
The Bishop Creek Canyon is always a popular spot and in past years Lake Sabrina and South Lake have offered anglers a rare opportunity to ice fish in California. Don’t hold your breath this year. With the combination of the lack of snow and warmer weather, both lakes should show at least some open and fishable water.
The North and South forks of Bishop Creek will surely be stuffed with Dept. of Fish and Wildlife trout, while Intake 2 will see some standard half-pound DFW trout plants with some bigger models mixed in.
Middle Owens and Pleasant Valley Reservoir have been getting regular stocking s of DFW broodstock fish, so those fisheries should be prime. PVR received 35 “Sierra Spirit” wall hangers in the 10-15 pound class for the Blake Jone’s Derby in March. Not but a few have made the local press, so perhaps dunking a line there would be wise.
“Crowley is going to be the place to be. We put in a ton of fish and some really big ones too. We release our 3- and 4-year-old fish and some of them looked over 10 pounds,” according to an individual I spoke with at Hot Creek Hatchery,
Convict Lake will be another hot spot and is definitely worth putting on your agenda.
“We should be getting about three-four loads of fish in the 3-5 pound class. Each load runs about 900 pounds. DFW stocks the lake and the creek and the county may be stocking as well, but I am not sure,” according to one individual I spoke with from Convict Lake Resort.
The road to Mammoth Lakes is usually not open until Memorial Day weekend, but the June Lake loop is a great spot to land a lunker. June Lake Marina released some 9-12 pounders after the “closer” last year in preparation for 2015. They will also be stocking a mix of 4-7 pounders for the opener along with some DFW trout mixed in. The other lakes in the loop will also be receiving fish from the DFW before the opener and will have plenty of holdovers — some of size — to fill a stringer.
The Bridgeport Fish Enhancement program has already stocked the area waters with some really nice fish. The East Walker, Bridgeport Reservoir and Twin Lakes have all received some of the 7-10 pounders raised through the program and along with the monster brown trout should be enough to entice any trout angler.
Just got back from Bishop – the lower Owens is at very low flow rate currently; Bridgeport reservoir, I’m told is in danger of drying up – the East Walker/Hot Creek flows were dangerously low at 30 CFS per recent reports. The trout I saw were small and skinny – many may not survive the summer temperatures and persistently low expected flows due to poor snowfall this year. Stocked trout are one thing, but wild ones are a precious commodity. Please avoid any fishing if the water temps are in the 60’s!! Art Strauss, Irvine