Now that we are well into the hottest time of the year, with temperatures approaching or at triple digits, local fishermen are discovering that their fishing success has dramatically dropped off.
And, very honestly, that is not at all unusual and it is to be expected during the "dog days" of summer.
Trout become uncomfortable when the water temperatures begin to climb.
When the weather gets hot and stays hot, the trout retreat to the colder portions of our local ponds, lakes and reservoirs and stay there.
When they do go deep, they also seem to develop "lock jaw" and stubbornly refuse to strike at anything that fishermen offer them.
As a result, there is a noticeable drop-off in fishing success in concert with a marked increase in the frustration level of unsuccessful fishermen.
Each week, I check around, on every Monday morning, to get the latest fishing reports for my Outdoor Page which runs on Wednesday. I check for fishing success at various streams, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes and reservoirs in a rather large area. Those waters range all the way from Eagle Lake in Northern California to Wildhorse Reservoir in Northeastern Nevada to Crowley Lake in the Bishop, Calif. area to Stampede Reservoir in the Truckee, Calif. area.
Currently, I am getting the same basic report from all of those areas and that is very simply: "The weather is hot and the fishing is slow."
The only action of note is at those locations which are stocking large numbers of trout with the hope that those planters will attract fishermen to their locale.
So, if you are a fisherman and if you have encountered the frustration of your success dropping way off at this time of the year, you might ask yourself, "Is there anything that I can do to reverse that process?"
Well, surprisingly, there is something that you can do and it is quick and easy solution. What is it?
The correct answer is that when you go fishing next time, you just need to set your sights higher.
That's correct, higher.
Higher means to go to the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada of this area.
If you do, you will find that fishing is very much alive and well at those lofty altitudes, where it is usually always cool.
So, without further ado, here are some recommended locations that you can seek out to enjoy quality trout fishing even during these broiling days of mid-August:
KINNEY RESERVOIR:Is about 50 miles from Carson City. It is at elevation of about 8,000 feet on California S.R. 4 just before you reach the summit of Ebbett's Pass. This reservoir has good populations of Eastern brook and rainbow trout.
The best shore fishing is along the highway side with small lures or bait such as Power Bait. The best trolling is in the deep water along the highway side of the lake or on the far end. Use small, silver flasher blades with either worms or small, silver or gold, F-4 Flatfish lures.
NORTH, SABRINA AND SOUTH LAKES: These lakes are located west of Bishop, California, about a four-hour drive from Carson City. They are all at an elevation of about 9,000+ feet and contain very nice populations of trout such as Eastern brook, German brown and rainbow. Be sure to take your camera because the scenery is spectacular. For the latest information on where to fish and what to use, call Gary and Susie Olson of the Bishop Creek Resorts at (760) 873-4484.
LAKE TAHOE: You will need a boat, electronic fish finder and either downriggers or fishing rods equipped with steel line. You'll be at an elevation of 6,200 feet. Fish at depths of about 150-300, near rocky bottoms to catch wily and large Mackinaw (lake) trout). Remember, when you fish at those depths, the temperature remains fairly constant, year round and so does the fishing success. Your best chances for nice-sized Mackinaws will be in front of Cave Rock on the east side, in front of King's Beach on the north side, in front of the Tahoe Keys area on the south side and in front of the Emerald Bay area on the west side.
VIRGINIA LAKES AREA: This area is located just south of Bridgeport, Calif. and west of Conway Summit on U.S. 395. Just drive to the end of the paved road and you are there. The Virginia Lakes area (elevation of 9,000 feet) contains a number of lakes such as Big Virginia, Little Virginia, Red, Blue, Cony, Burro, Moat, etc. The fishing is consistently good for species such as Eastern brook, cutthroat, German brown and rainbow trout. Big and Little Virginia Lakes are favorite destinations for fly fishermen in float tubes.
WINNEMUCCA LAKE: Is about 40 miles from Carson City. It is a 2-mile hike from the parking area at Kit Carson Pass on California S.R. 88. This lake is at an elevation of 9,000 feet and contains Eastern brook and Kamloop trout. Shore fishing is normally very poor, while raft or float tube fishing can be spectacular. The best trolling area is along the drop-off between shallow and deep water, between the islands and shoreline on the far side of the lake. Use small, silver flasher blades and either worms or small, silver, F-4 Flatfish lures.
So, there you have it, five different locations for high altitude fishing at this time of the year.
Heck, even if you go to one of them and get skunked, the trip will be worth it. That is because the temperatures will be as much as 15-20 degrees lower than they are in Carson City.
Give one of time a try if the weather is getting too hot for you.
-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't name the highest lake that I have fished.
If he grins and says, "Upper Striped Mountain Lake at an elevation of 12,500 feet south of Taboose Pass near Big Pine, Calif.," he might have been on one of my backpack trips to that area.