David Baron, another one of Leonard’s happy clients. (Photo: Leonard)
By Chris Leonard
Here we are on the opener of fishing season, and I find myself caught in a real financial dilemma. I’m between my two extracurricular paying gigs: Mighty Mites ski coaching season is done, and fish guiding season isn’t here yet. Most people in town term this communal increase of expendable time as the politically-correct “shoulder season,” but I like to think of it as the “how do I buy the next few toys on my wish list season.” Big kids gotta play, too. Another 6-weight fly rod for the East Walker, fresh fruit to blast with my .22, a trip to a tropical Asian beach paradise, a new skateboard to bomb Meridian with the dogs, a new Harley Sportster … you get the idea.
If only I can contrive the most perfect strategic profit-making plan. That’s when an idea hit me for a business which I aspire to get up and running on Crowley as early as this Saturday! I need to remember to call Lane Garrett at the Fish Camp to give him the heads up for me and personal entourage of just heavenly mermaids who are going to help me stack my “toy fund.”
Tipsy Ichthyolics Toplessly Served. That’s the name of my new company. For those of you left wondering what an “ichthyolic” is, ichthyology is the study of fish. I suppose “ichthyolic” is a makeshift expression which most accurately describes the majority of trout anglers. The other surrounding words, you can figure out. So, what’s the business look like?
Golf resorts figured out decades ago that the best way to shake extra coins out of musty plaid pants found on leathery old dudes is to have cute little blondes drive golf carts around after them hawking 12-ounce cans of Tecate for $8.50. The smiles beaming from the sales carts are big enough that the ladies in short shorts are handed an Alexander Hamilton, and not asked for change. Talk about “shooting fish in a barrel.”
Hence, why can’t this happen on our blue-ribbon fishery of Crowley Lake throughout the entire fishing season? In place of golf carts, think floattubes.
Hire some of the loveliest ladies (any lifties still in town?) and put them on tubes, kicking around, purposely targeting the most frustrated male anglers on the lake, proffering Golden Trout Ales for $6. You know, help relieve the anxiety of getting totally skunked, while the guy two boats over limited out on trout in seven minutes then continues to reel in perch on every other cast.
The sales potential is endless!
Now, what to use for hooking fish …
The usual Crowley baits should land you some monster fish: inflated nightcrawlers, and all the usual dough baits that you can afford for one weekend. Play around a bit with depths off the bottom. I’m sure plenty of trout will be had all over the lake. If you’re trolling, get your lead cores down deep. Resort to the standard lures: Rapala’s, Taz Devils, Mirashads and Lip Rippers. For the fly anglers, play around with your different midge patterns and sizes.
Double ‘em up, experimenting with sizes and colors, as you’ll figure out quickly what’s working, and what isn’t. Per your rigging, aim to get your bottom midge six inches off the lake bottom, and the top midge 12 inches above that.
If you’re not into the mass crowds on the stillwater, and prefer the mass crowds on the moving water, there are lots of healthy trout just waiting for you in Hot Creek. It’s going to be busy, no way around it, but you might find an empty corner here or there. When the wind is calm and the fish are surface feeding, it’s all about the BWOs. For wet flies, keep it simple. Just beach the daylights out of them with your Olive Scuds in sizes 14/16, and Zebra Midges and WD-40s in 18 – 22.
If you’re one of those locals who just has to go ice fishing up in the Basin, which in my opinion is about as entertaining as watching snow melt, pack an ice drill and nightcrawlers. Oh, and bring your own libations … my honeys ain’t gonna be up there.
Stop into any fine trout shop in town if you have any questions not answered here. Meanwhile, if any locals posit that we don’t need a floating Hooters Bar in Mono County, tell ‘em to stow it. Best of luck, anglers … and, as cliché as it is, Merry Fishmas!
Note: At press time, June Lake and Convict Lake had been cleared for stocking, so have at ‘em! A more detailed report can be found at http://kittredgesports.com/fishing_report.php. Leonard guides for Kittredge Sports. Call 760.934.7566.