Opening Day also brings out the celebrities … such as Elton John, seen here fishing on Hot Creek last year.
It didn’t take much head scratching to count the number of fishing outfitters along U.S. 395, recognize the saturated abundance of fish guides in town (of which I’m modestly one now), and then gaze upon the Inyo National Forest Map to identify an infinite number of creeks and lakes, brimming with an even more infinite number of trout.
The answer arrived to me more directly than Moses bringing down the Ten Commandments direct from the hands of God off the top of Mount Sinai.
If you told me back then that today I’d be writing fish reports for The Sheet and guiding, I’d have laughed and suggested that you’re telling fish tales. After all, who would have expected that The Sheet would still be in business. It’s amazing the way the currents unexpectedly carry us through life. But, it’s also a pretty great ride.
Speaking of drifts and currents, there is nothing more traditional in these parts than the annual dunking of Powerbait and Gulp into Crowley Lake on Opening Day.
Make sure you’re up for trout nice and early in the morning on Opening Day on California’s quintessential trout lake. I’m typically coaching alpine teams on the Mountain on Opening Day. But, not this year! Instead, you’re likely to find me at Crowley experimenting with water depth and midge patterns.
I suggest doubling up with your
midge patterns about 18-inches apart. “Seek & Destroy,” we guides call it. One midge seeks, the other destroys!!! Grey, black, or red would be as educated a guess that I can now offer. Start 18-inches off the lake bottom, and work your way up until the boat next to you gets a strike. Perhaps the fisherperson with bent rod will be kind enough to offer to you the knowledge that his $600 fish finder, which you don’t have, tells in terms of depth range of trout. If you own a finder, be that good guy who shares the depth range of fish. If for no other reason than it’s good karma.
There is no shortage of fat trout in Crowley. They are in there, and plenty are bound to be brought ashore on Saturday. Keep in mind that Vons in Mammoth sells more trout on Opening Day than any supermarket in the Western Hemisphere. Even if my advice is wrong, you are not going to have to call your wife to tell her that you are sending your license back to DFG “cause this whole fishing thing just isn’t working out the way it’s suppose to.”
But trust me, that’s one failsafe I don’t think you’ll need to use. Hit Crowley … it’ll hit you back.
As for actual experience on water, I dropped down to Hot Creek a couple of weeks back and cast a fly for the first time in months. My first fish of the year was gorgeous 17-inch brown that took a size 16 Black BH PT. My only mishap of the afternoon happened when the dog jumped in the creek to help me land it. It didn’t help much. The dog got zapped with the E-collar, and the brown broke off and bolted down current. Oh, well.
In other patterns, I also Scuds and got hits. Little WD-40s should get strikes as well. Thinking about dropping some Hare’s Ears and Bird’s Nests? I say why not? BWOs prefer the dries if they are surface feeding.
My reliable sources tell me that Upper Owens above the bridge is fishing well for the fly anglers. This Saturday onward, dunkers can count on killing it from the very misnamed “Fishing Monument” to the Lake. Gulp and nightcrawlers should do just fine. Mepps and Panther Martins if you want to run lures.
As for the creeks, Rock Creek should be fishing very well. Bishop Creek is a treat on Opener. A float tube in Intake Two is grand all spring and summer. Use Salmon Eggs on a treble hook in creeks.
In the North County with flows on the rise, it is no surprise that the East Walker has been fishing excellent. This is trout warfare at its best. Bridgeport Reservoir will turn on big time this season. It is, after all, Crowley Lake’s northern counterpart.
Bottom line, folks: the Fishing Opener in Mono and Inyo counties is an electric day. It tells us all that, even if Old Man Winter blows in a couple more times for some sick powder skiing off Chair 23 (and he’s welcome to as far as I’m concerned) the weather is still warming up.
The wait is over … it’s on … time to go fishing! Merry Fishmas!
A more detailed report can be found at http://kittredgesports.com/fishing_report.php. Leonard guides for Kittredge Sports. Call 760.934.7566.