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Eastern Sierra Report: Count on no late-summer lull in Sierra this year

BY ERNIE COWAN
Special to Western Outdoor News
Published: Aug 02, 2017
JUNE LAKE — This could be the year the Eastern Sierra trout season continues without the traditional summer lull.

The season began with record flows from a deep winter snowpack, and only now are things reaching peak conditions as lakes and streams resemble traditional opening day conditions instead of mid-summer gasps.

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LEADING THE PACK — At press time, Phil Braun from Murrieta was leading the pack at last weekend’s 2017 Bridgeport Fish Fest and Poker Run at Lower Twin Lake with this hefty 6-pound, 11-ounce rainbow he took with a #16 nymph.

 

“I definitely don’t think we will see the normal summer lull. I think things will move right from peak conditions into the hot fall bite later this season,” said Adam Thomason at June Lake Marina.

June Lake has been well stocked with DFW hatchery trout, along with trophy rainbows from Oregon. Additionally, trophy rainbows raised in floating pens in the lake are being released weekly, Thomason said.

“We are seeing lots of 2- to 4-pound trout every day, with a few 5-pound-plus fish each week,” he said.

Biggest this week at June Lake was a 5-pound, 2-ounce rainbow taken by Noel Mechelin from Newberry Park, who was dunking PowerBait from a boat. Biggest fish of the week in the June Lake Loop was a hefty 7- pound, 11-ounce rainbow caught by Everett Gossett from Murrieta, who was offering an Olive Matuka from his float tube at Silver Lake.

Andrew Jones at Silver Lake Resort said the fishing there has continued to be steady, “with some spots of brilliant fishing.”

Warming waters mean anglers should work a bit deeper, but worms just below the surface or a trolled olive Matuka or green Woolly Bugger early or late in the day is a hot ticket.

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GRANT LAKE TROLL — Mike Hopper and Kenny Lavoie from the LA area fished Grant Lake in the June Loop and connected with some beautiful brown trout while trolling Tasmanian Devils at eight colors.

 

Gull Lake has the same story, with lots of 3- to 6-pound fish now biting.

“In the last few days we have seen 15 fish in the 3- to 6-pound-plus range,” said William Garnica at Gull Lake Landing.

The biggest was a 7-pound, 8-ounce rainbow taken with PowerBait from a boat by Anthony Comaianni from La Verne. Close behind was a 6-pound, 8-ounce rainbow landed by Colin Paiz from San Diego, who was offering a Pinched Crawler on the back side of the lake in a boat.

John Logue at Ernie’s Tackle Shop in June Lake said Grant Lake has also been fishing very well. Mike Hopper and Kenny Lavoie from the L.A. area connected with some beautiful brown trout while trolling Tasmanian Devils at eight colors at Grant.

Mammoth area lakes continue to benefit from warmer weather, and fish that are more active.

Alex Fillmore at Rick’s Sportscenter said basin lakes have been fishing very well, with Pinched Crawlers and Mice Tails the go-to baits. “We are still seeing the best bites in deeper water over the drop offs,” Fillmore said.

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BREEZING ALONG — Getting up a little earlier than she wanted to, Breezy Torrealba was sure glad she got out of bed and headed to Crowley Lake on a recent family trip to the Eastern Sierra, sticking this nice 5-pound rainbow along with a handful of other quality trout.

 

The road down into Red’s Meadow has only been open two weeks, now, and while flows in the San Joaquin River remain high and challenging, anglers are catching some monster fish out of Sotcher Lake.

At press time, an angler only identified as “Coach” reported a 15-pound brown taken from a tube and released at Sotcher Lake with a Gulp! Worm. WON is trying to get a picture.

“It took him about 45 minutes to bring him in and it gave him a ride all over the lake,” Fillmore said.

Crowley Lake continues to fish extremely well for this time of the year. Mid-summer often sees algae blooms that slow things down considerably.

Kent Rianda from The Trout Fitter in Mammoth said huge numbers of fish are still holding in McGee Bay, schooled around colder water flowing in from creeks.

“You can strip from the boat, but the float tube is your best bet. They are taking fry anywhere from two feet of water all the way out to 20,” Rianda said.

Guide Tom Loe reported one pair of anglers who brought 21 fish to the net in McGee Bay.

Anglers are reminded that Crowley’s no-bait regulations are now in place until the season ends in November. Anglers are limited to artificial, barbless lures or flies only, and a limit of two fish per day, 18 inches or larger. 

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AN OLIVE MATUKA was just the ticket for Everett Gossett from Murrieta, who landed this Monster 7-pound, 11-ounce rainbow fishing from his float tube at Silver Lake.
 

Convict Lake is also fishing extremely well, with the big fish this week a 6-pound, 2-ounce rainbow landed buy Kevin Legg from Bakersfield who was offering a nightcrawler on the south shore.

Kristen Petersen at Convict Lake Resort said the Inlet is still the best place to be, but fishing is good all over the lake.

Jim King at Rock Creek Lake Resort said, “overall, the fishing has been good at Rock Creek lake.”

“Light line, small hooks and the usual stuff is working,” he said.

Trolling Tasmanian Devils or Needlefish at three to four colors is also a good tactic, while bait and streamer flies are working well for shore anglers.

Backcountry lakes above 11,000 feet are still iced over, but most of the lower elevation lakes are open and the summer bite for brookies is hot.

Lakes in the Bishop Creek Basin are full to the brim and well stocked with both Oregon trophy trout and DFW stockers.

South Lake is producing good numbers of bigger holdover trout, and the inlets are excellent for steady action on smaller trout.

Stream flows are still high, but waters have been well stocked and the sleepy angler might be jolted awake when a monster rainbow decides to bite. Dipping the stream pools with a small lure or bait after a quiet approach can produce some exciting action.

crowleyphotobomb
CROWLEY PHOTOBOMB — Don Harmes from Twain Harte can’t resist being in the picture with his granddaughter Jacee Vallelunga after catching this beautiful brown at Crowley Lake. The pair fished with Sierra Drifters guide Tom Loe and brought 21 fish to net in McGee Bay using Parallel Perch pattern fly.

Rick Apted at Lake Sabrina reports that lots of bigger fish came out last week.

“The afternoon has been the best time for fishing at the inlets with nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, jigs or Mice Tails,” he said.

Trolling has been productive with Kastmasters, Thomas Buoyants and nightcrawlers.

Waters around Bridgeport continue to be hot for both numbers of fish and bigger fish.

Virginia Lakes continues to improve as temperatures warm the chilly, high-altitude waters. Biggest fish this week was a 7-pound, 4-ounce rainbow taken at Big Virginia Lake by Randal Garrett from Bakersfield who was using garlic Pinched Worms while fishing from shore.

Big fish are being caught in such numbers at Bridgeport Reservoir that it’s hard to keep track of how many over 6 pounds.

Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods said boats and kayaks are a must for success, with anglers focusing on stream channels having the most success. Buckeye Bay is definitely the hot spot.

The Twin Lakes out of Bridge­port are also producing some huge fish. Lower Twin hosted the Bridgeport Fish Fest and Poker Run last weekend and at press time, Phil Braun from Murrieta was leading the pack with a hefty 6-pound, 11-ounce rainbow he took with a #16 nymph. Just a few days before he landed a 6-pound, 9-ounce rainbow at Upper Twin Lake, where fishing has been as good from shore as it has from boats.

Bob Pitcher at Mono Village on Upper Twin said fishing has been “really good, with Salmon/Peach PowerBait, Woolly Buggers and red/gold Thomas Buoyants working the best.’

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KEEPER FROM CONVICT — Kevin Legg from Bakersfield had a good day at Convict Lake, landing this 6-pound, 2-ounce rainbow from the south shore with a nightcrawler. 
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LAKE MARY LARGE — Mammoth Basin lakes continue to fish very well as Brady Samsonite from Temecula found out when he caught this 3-pound, 8-ounce rainbow while tossing a Thomas Buoyant at Lake Mary.

 

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LOVES THE GARLIC — Summer has arrived at Virginia Lakes and Randal Garrett from Bakersfield enjoyed a good day at Big Virginia Lake, hauling in this 7-pound, 4-ounce pig using garlic Pinched Worms while fishing from shore.

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