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Eastern Sierra should be prime for vacation crowds

Written BY ERNIE COWAN/Special to Western Outdoor News

Published: Jun 09, 2017

Thaw is on as Mammoth’s Lake Mary Marina will be open June 15; 7-1 rainbow at Bridgeport Reservoir tops reported fish for week




JUNE LAKE — Warmer temperatures should mean the Eastern Sierra trout bite will continue to improve as summer vacation crowds begin to arrive this week.


Most schools have closed for the summer and this means the high season for Sierra fishing is about to begin.


Last week was a preview of what’s ahead, with Scott Champion at Ernie’s Tackle in June Lake summing it up best.


“What we are seeing in the June Loop is fishing is picking up with mostly hatchery trout biting bait and trollers getting bigger fish,” he said.


Mornings are good for some dry fly action at Gull Lake as fish are feeing on the surface, but as the days warms up, the fish are moving deeper.


Jeremy Ross from Ernie’s was catching some 2- to 3-pound rainbows and cutthroat at June Lake by trolling Tasmanian Devils at 3 to 5 colors and an olive Woolly Bugger slightly weighted to hold at about 10 to 15 feet.


The Same combination is working at Grant Lake, but is attracting more browns and rainbows.


Gull Lake is also producing bigger fish to trolling, but all landings are reporting a more active bite.


Abbie Thomason at June Lake Marina said crowds were still light last week, but that should now change since schools have closed for the summer. The monster trout have yet to show up, but anglers are coming in with lots of 2- to 3-pound fish.



CAUGHT FROM SHORE — The best bite at Silver Lake has been with PowerBait, and that’s what Scott Cottle from Orange County used to entice this 4-pound, 11-ounce Rainbow while fishing from shore.

Thomason said the biggest fish of the week was a 5-pound cutthroat landed by a Long Beach anglers only identified as Melissa, who was trolling off the marina.


Andrew Jones at Silver Lake Resort said “water levels are as high as we have seen in a very long time.”


Water temperatures have held at 46 degrees, but a pattern of continued warm weather should heat things up along with the bite.


Silver Lake was stocked with a load of 3- to 5-pound rainbows, along with DFW hatchery fish last week.


PowerBaits have been the best choice, and Jones said that’s a good sign that indicates the fish are feeding.


“With all the extra water, we are seeing some new spots and feeding grounds for the fish as the water levels have allowed access to the back of the lake which we haven’t seen in a long time,” Jones said.


Rush Creek continues to flow at record levels, often flooding low areas, making access challenging.


There are some nice fish holding in the creek, but they seem to prefer jigs, swim baits and offerings such as Sierra Slammers drifted in the slower runs and deeper pools. Matuka and Woolly Bugger flies are also getting looks.


anotherbridgeporttopedoANOTHER BRIDGEPORT TORPEDO — Bridgeport Reservoir continue to be one of the hottest lakes in the Eastern Sierra and Bridgeport Local Wayne Marshall agrees after landing this 7-pound, 1-ounce tagged rainbow that her took with a nightcrawler.

Bridgeport Reservoir continues to be one of the hotter fishing spots, producing good numbers of 3- to 7-pound rainbows and browns. Boats are being launched near the dam as water levels slowly rise.


Biggest fish of the week was a 7-pound, 1-ounce tagged rainbow stocked by the Bridgeport Fish Enhancement Foundation. Bridgeport local Wayne Marshall who was offering a nightcrawler caught it.


Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods said trolling at Bridgeport has been steady, with nightcrawlers, Rapala, Tasmanian Devil and Speedy Shiners working very well. Pinched Crawlers and Mice Tails are also a good choice.


Mornings and evenings have been best for lures, with mid-day a switch to bait the best tactic, Reid said.


Crowds were light last week at the Twin Lakes out of Bridgeport, and most anglers were reporting 2- to 3-pound fish.


livingthedreamLIVING THE DREAM — The trout bite continues to pick up at Lower Twin Lake in Bridgeport with fish like this 4-pound, 8-ounce rainbow landed by John Kardashian who was offering an orange and white Mice Tail.

John Kardashian landed a 4-pound, 8-ounce rainbow at Lower Twin Lake while offering an orange and white Mice Tail.


The story is about the same at Upper Twin, with the added twist that Kokanee have started to bite, according to Derrick Mills at Mono Village.


“The Kokanee are biting on trolled Wedding Rings. They are not big, maybe 2 to 4 pounds, and they are deep at about 60 feet,” Mills said.


Overall the best fishing has been from shore at Upper Twin, with Betty Fry from Las Vegas, checking in with a 5-pound, 8-ounce rainbow she took with a Pinched Crawler.


The higher elevation waters at Virginia Lakes continue to open up. Waters are cold, and fish are still a bit sluggish, but look for some excellent fishing as summer weather continues.


throughtheiceTHROUGH THE ICE — Higher elevation lakes are starting to clear of ice, but Robin Takeshita from Laguna Niguel pulled this beautiful 4-pound rainbow through the ice at Little Virginia Lake while there was still ice thick enough to fish. She was dunking a jig.

Carolyn Webb at Virginia Lakes Resort said there were lots of angles on the water last week, and the biggest fish checked was a beefy, 4-pound rainbow pulled from the ice at Little Virginia Lake by Robin Takeshita from Laguna Niguel, who was using a jig.


The Tigoa Road into Yosemite from Lee Vining is still closed, by Wayne Beaver at Beaver’s Sporting Goods said Ellery Lake at the top of the highway has open water and anglers hiking or biking in are catching fish. Saddlebag Lake at 10,800 feet remains locked in ice and crews have not even started to clear snow from the road to the resort.


Beaver said there has been good fishing for 2- to 4-pound rainbows at Lundy Lake, and the lake was stocked last week. Water levels continue to rise and anglers can now launch boats easily.


High flows in Lee Vining Creek has made fishing a challenge, but the creek has been well stocked.


“Fishing is okay if you know how to fish fast water,” Beaver said. Crowds in the Lee Vining Canyon campgrounds are still light, but that should change once passes are opened.


Roads into the Mammoth Lakes Basin are still closed, but snow clearing is underway and Don Barrett at Lake Mary Marina reports the ice on the lake is melting quickly.


“We plan to be opening before June 15, so we are taking reservations,” he said.


Anglers can drive as far as Twin Lakes and the water there is free of ice, but fishing has been slow.  “The water is painfully cold at about 39 degrees,” said Eric Holland at Rick’s Sportscenter.


UP A CREEK — But Robert Aguirre from Santa Ana didn’t need a paddle to haul in this beautiful nearly 5-pound rainbow in Convict Creek just below the outlet. He offered a nightcrawler dipped in Bite On Garlic scent and after a quick photo he released it.

northshorerainbowNORTH SHORE RAINBOW — Tammy Pacheco from Santee fished the north shore at Convict Lake with a pink and white Mice Tail to bring in this nice, 4-pound, 15-ounce rainbow.


Convict Lake is also on the upswing, with both the lake and Convict Creek producing some nice fish. Robert Aguirre from Santa Ana caught and released a nearly 5-pound rainbow in Convict Creek just below the outlet using a nightcrawler dipped in garlic scent, and Tammy Pacheco from Santee fished the north shore with a pink and white Mice Tail to catch a 4-pound, 15-ounce rainbow.


Crowley Lake continues to be a standout for fishing with idea temperatures and clear water.


“Fishing has slowed a bit, but is still better than anything else up here right now,” said guide Kent Rianda from The Trout Fitter in Mammoth Lakes.


He said waters are mostly clear unless you are right by the inlets where there are a few patches of algae.


“Fish are still concentrated on the east side of McGee Bay and off Alligator point. Not much going on in the Hiltons or the north arm,” he said. Trout are feeding heavily on midges.


Rock Creek Lake is still frozen and the lake access road has still not been plowed, but Jim King at Rock Creek Lake Resort said there is lots of fishable water around the edges at the inlet and outlet. It will still be a week or more before anglers have full access to the area.


The thaw continues slowly in the Bishop Basin. The road is now open to South Lake, but parking is a challenge because parking lots have not been cleared. The lake is also extremely low and has yet to be stocked.


Lake Sabrina is ice-free and has been stocked and is rising slowly. Rick Apted at Sabrina Landing said fishing has been generally good all over the lake, but mostly for smaller DFW-stocked rainbows. The inlet at the back of the lake continues to be a more active spot.


North Lake is not free of ice, but water temperatures remain very cold and the fish has been sluggish.

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