By Chris Leonard
At this time each year, I have my English Language Learners research on the Internet about Mule Days. There are two hopes to this lesson: The first is that the students learn a bit about the traditions and history of Memorial Day Weekend on the Eastside. The second, that they actually turn off the Playstation 3 and get out of the house and head down to the Fairgrounds to partake in some entertainment the old fashioned way: socializing outside. There seems to be some success to this lesson, as every year a few of the students come back to school on Tuesday with a couple of stories of what they enjoyed, or not, at the event.
Last week, on the Mule Days website I learned how the celebration has continued because “the outfitters and packers of the region wanted an event to start off the packing season.” In a somewhat cynical manner, like everyone else around here, I wondered, “What packing season with 650 inches of snow?”
Theoretically-speaking, Mule Days is the marking of the change of the seasons, as we roll from winter, into our two-week spring in Mammoth, along into summer. I think though, in a conspiracy theorist way, that MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory has a deal worked out with the guy upstairs. He offers the Big Cheese a 15% holding in the company if we can just roll one winter into the next. This works well for both shareholders, as the CEO of the ski area will save tons of bucks on snowmaking, and the dude whose painting is found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel gets
a penthouse suite in The Village, right above Lakanuki. How does this connect to Mule Days? Simple.
This year, I vote that we scratch the 20-Mule Team led by Bob Tanner as the Grand Marshall and replace it with Glen Plake heading up the 20-Mule Bobsled Team. We don’t need to re-create Mule Days for a high-country packing season that will foreseeably never open this summer; we just need to reshape it. We’ll toss “Chariot Racing” as an event, and replace it with “Park Rat Racing.” In this event, snowboarders tie a 50-foot rope to the back of a mule, and the athletes race around a snow-covered Eastern Sierra field.
I always love “Mutton Bustin’.” Watching 5-year olds sporting Kevlar vests holding onto a sheep for dear life as it sprints across the dirt is just classic. This year, we simply move to higher grounds, and put the young ones on bighorn sheep. We start at the top of Dade Couloir, and the first junior to reach the bottom wins!
As for the fishing, as I am reminded by Lunch that my “fish reports” have to occasionally have at least a little bit of information about actual “fishing,” so here goes …
I continue to spend a lot of hours throughout the week at Hot Creek. With the colder temps still prevailing, the major snow runoff has not yet hit, and the fishing is surprisingly very good. Even with the colder temperatures, it seems that the trout are getting anxious and biting more each day. Last Tuesday at the Creek, I felt colder than when I’m shooting ducks in the dead of winter, but I nailed tons of trout. BWO Emergers are red hot right now. Micro Midges. Scuds. PT’s. Any of these nymphs will work just fine. I haven’t been doing much dry fly fishing, as personally I’m down at Hot Creek in the afternoons when it is slower, but I do understand that morning dry action is somewhat decent. BWO’s seem to be the ticket. As for a different moving water fishery for fly anglers, I understand The East Walker is fishing well right now. The same patterns at Hot Creek should work in the North County as well.
For the bait anglers, kids at the high school are telling me that trout are being caught in Mammoth Creek. Powerbait and Salmon Eggs. I understand that Convict Lake and Crowley Lake are waking up a bit, and the trout bite is picking up on these aforementioned fisheries. For those of you who simply can’t get enough winter in your life, the ice fishing up at the Lakes Basin is decent. I took the dog to Lower Twin two weeks ago and dunked Powerbait. No hits, but if I managed to click into my skate skis and get some exercise out of the process, heading further up the road with my ice bit and drill, I would have likely fared better.
I’m gonna talk to Bob Tanner this weekend, see if I can’t hustle myself one of his twenty jackasses. It’d be super cool if I could ride one of those up to the high country lakes to ice fish through Labor Day Weekend. That’s kind of the “summer” I think we all envision having.
A more detailed report can be found at http://kittredgesports.com/fishing_report.php. Leonard guides for Kittredge Sports. Call 760.934.7566.