Merry Fishmas, anglers! It’s opening day of fishing season. Meaning it’s also opening day for the first-of-the-season weekly fish report, courtesy of yours truly and the one and only Sheet. Think Obama represents “hope?” He hasn’t yet cast eyes upon Crowley Lake on opening day.
I get a big old Twizzler grin across my face when I think of the vast numbers of people in town who will anxiously pop out of bed this morning at 4 a.m. to be on Crowley before the orange sun rises. Only two days ago, they slammed the snooze button at 6 a.m. to get a mere extra 15 minutes of shut eye before having to grudgingly trudge off to work. Yep, that’s an angler for you. I can smell the collective coffee breath from my front porch in town. There’s more than fog rising above those waters on opener.
Somewhere in a cluster of 3,000 boats armed with the total power of 20,000 horses, Pop is telling Junior, “Yep, the worst day of fishing still beats the best day of work.” Meanwhile, Junior’s wondering if dad’s attendance of too many Grateful Dead shows earlier in life has anything to do with the fact that he’s crazy enough to get up so stinking early to stare at an orange bobber. I’ll give it to dad though, he’s got something going on there, and his addiction of today is a healthier one than that of yesteryear. So, what’s Pop hooking trout with?
The hundreds of red-eye anglers who got on the waters of Crowley today hopefully did so with Rapalas, Taz Devils, Mirashads, or Lip Ripper Spoonz, trolling 1–4 colors starting at the marina and heading towards Sandy. Bait dunkers are no doubt frying up dinner tonight thanks to Chunky Cheese Powerbait Gulp! The s*#t works!
Fly anglers on Crowley? Get your Buggers in green or black, sizes 10 or 12 and troll with the sink line around Hilton, Whiskey, or McGee. Midging 1–3 feet off the bottom in any of these bays will also land healthy trout. Just play with different depths and colors till your indicator goes under.
Better yet, stand on the shore with a pair of high power specs and when you start to see and hear where the action is really picking up, kick over to the crowd and use those interpersonal skills you got stored away to extract from the person you speak with the information that you seek: what color and size is working. It’s hit or miss opening day, but when the first fish hits, it’s hard and fast!
The other two lakes we are calling out this week are Upper and Lower Twin out of Bridgeport and The Reservoir. They’ve been ice free for quite some time now, and opening week always produces some trout worthy of putting up on the wall of any home. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the morgue outside of Ken’s in Bridgeport.
Word on the streets has it that the roads to Virginia and Lundy Lakes will be clear on opening day, though you’ll need to pack the drill for Virginia and plan on some ice fishing. If you work up an appetite, the resort up there has some pretty good apple pie!
The moving waters? Hot Creek is on fire right now for you fly anglers. We got BWO, cahill, and caddis hatches throughout the day. Any of these dry patterns in sizes 18–20 are good to go if you spot the bugs on the water. Below surface, tiny (22/24) baetis T-bodies in olive, brown, and grey are all candy. Equally tiny midge and brassie patterns are also landing trout. Scuds and Bird’s Nests are givens at Hot Creek.
The Upper O? From the lake to the monument, it’s open for fly and bait anglers. Gulp! and Salmon Eggs are the best bets for those looking for dinner, while Pin Minnows and Kastmasters are also gonna do magic. Fly anglers should hook trout on the traditional flies of BH PT’s and Prince Nymphs, in sizes 16 and 18. Work the deep pools.
The Lower O is worth stopping by on the way out of town. The Wild Trout Region is fishable. Use Green Rock Worms, Caddis Larva, and PT’s working below; Caddis and BWO’s on top. For the bait anglers, Gulp! ‘em down by Warm Springs. DFG stocks heavily around Line Street and Warm Springs.
Family fun for the week is found on Mammoth Creek conveniently located in town. All you need are some Salmon Eggs on a size 16 or 18 treble hook and some sunglasses for the kids to protect the eyes from flying hooks.
Chris Leonard guides for Performance Anglers. Call 760.924.2181.
Get looped in June
If Crowley Lake is the “Granddaddy” of Eastern Sierra angling, then the June Lake Loop must be made up of the fun loving Grandkids. After all, the most rocking Fishmas celebration on the Eastside takes place in the heart of June.
The 34th annual Monster Trout Derby will highlight opening day in June and will once again force Main Street to close down as the sun goes down. The Monster Trout Derby not only gives out prizes for the heaviest fish, but also for stuff like the ugliest fish and the largest fish caught by both a lady and a kid. Unfortunately, they don’t give out any prizes for the ugliest or fattest fisherman—you’ve got to go to the Tiger Bar for those types of rewards.
There are essentially four interconnected gems in the June Lake Loop: June Lake, Gull Lake, which leads via Reversed Creek to Silver Lake, which leads via Rush Creek to Grant Lake. All are part of the Monster Trout Derby.
The 22-mile long Loop is a popular spot for campers and is a great place to catch rainbows, cutthroats, browns and brookies. The California state record brook was caught at Silver Lake back in 1932, a 9 lb 11oz monster.
Of course, the hot spot for angling tips in June Lake since 1932 has been Ernie’s Fly and Tackle Shop.
“It’s pretty tough to find a better place if you love to fish than the June Lake Loop,” said Jeremy Ross, the third generation of his family to run Ernie’s and a member of the Mono County Fishing Commission.
“You can fly fish a creek, float tube, troll or shore cast several different lakes and pretty much any method you want to fish will work. Even first-timers have a pretty darn good chance of catching fish here on the June Lake Loop. Heck, just talking about how the fishing is going to be this season gets my heart rate up!”