A little piece of heaven located in the Eastern Sierra

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Do you enjoy stream fishing?

Do you enjoy fishing for trophy-sized, rainbow trout?

Or perhaps, do you enjoy other things like canoeing, bike riding, horseback riding or high altitude hiking?

Do you enjoy awesome scenery?

Do you enjoy camping in a campground along a stream?

Do you enjoy staying overnight in a comfortable bed in a snug cabin?

Or do you enjoy fine gourmet dining in a first-class restaurant?

Well, if you answered "Yes" to any, most or all of those questions, I have the perfect getaway location for you. And, it is a relatively short distance from Carson City.

All you have to do is drive south from Carson City for about 140 miles on U.S. 395.

Just past the Mammoth Lakes Exit, turn off to the right when you see a signed paved road that leads to a little piece of heaven in the Eastern Sierra, known as Convict Lake.

The Convict Lake area is two miles west of U.S. 395 and it has a "ton" of overnight accommodations including an 88-campsite U.S.F.S. campground and numerous, snug cabins at the Convict Lake Resort.

The campground is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Accommodations at the resort's cabins are by advance reservations.

Several years ago, I was at Convict Lake for the opener of the California trout fishing season and that general area was so crowded that the U.S. Forest Service had a ranger manning a roadblock to turn people back from the lake on Friday night and again on Saturday morning. That's crowded!

The Convict Lake Resort is very efficiently managed by Dave and Adrienne DeSurra. They have been my friends for a number of years and are the individuals who very generously supply the up-to-date information for my weekly fishing reports for both Convict Lake and Convict Creek.

According to Dave, the resort has a number of attractive features including "the best restaurant between Reno and Los Angeles," cabins, a well-stocked general store, rental boats, rental canoes, rental bicycles, boat launch area, boat dock, horseback riding, summer packhorse trips, etc.

If you would like to stay overnight at the resort, there are a total of 22 different, housekeeping cabins that can accommodate anywhere from as few as two people in the "Eastern Brook Cabin" all the way up to a party of 21 in the "Yosemite House Cabin."

Wow! A total of 21 people in one cabin. That's what I call a party!

The restaurant is known simply as "The Restaurant at Convict Lake" and has more than earned a well-deserved, 4-Diamond rating. It is open year-round and is one of the finest that you will ever have the pleasure of visiting, anywhere.

Here's some reasons why:

A dinner could consist of baby quail, green-lip mussels or Venus clams for an appetizer,

California vintage wines,

New York Steak,

Alpers Rainbow Trout,

Pistachio-encrusted Ahi Tuna,

Beef Wellington,

Roast Duck,

Venison Medallions,

Lamb Ossa Buco

or even Grilled Vegetable Strudel for vegetarians.

And, all this, being served to you by very efficient waiters dressed in black tuxedos. Not too shabby for a fishing destination in the mountains.

Then, if you are an angler, there is the high-quality fishing found in both the lake and the creek.

Those two bodies of water are routinely stocked by the California Department of Fish and Game with nice-sized rainbow trout, throughout the course of the fishing season. However, the big attraction at Convict Lake and Convict Creek is the frequent stocking of Alpers Trophy Rainbow Trout.

These huge rainbows are raised by Tim Alpers at his Alpers Fish Hatchery, near Mammoth Lakes. They grow to impressive sizes (up to 10 pounds!) and provide anglers (such as Don Q) with the chance-of-a-lifetime to catch a trophy-sized trout in a natural setting.

Last Friday-Sunday, my son Jim, daughter-in-law Kathi, Elaine and I had reservations at the Convict Lake Resort and we had an absolute ball during those three, fun-filled days.

The good news is that the hospitality, accommodations, company, food, drinks, scenery and trout fishing were all absolutely awesome and "Five Star."

The bad news was the wind.

It was W-I-N-D-Y all three days.

We arrived in the middle of the afternoon on Friday and then checked into cabin Nos. 5 & 6 (The "Lahontan Cutthroat" and "Eastern Brook" cabins).

While Elaine and Kathi got settled in, Jim and I quickly got his fishing boat ready and launched with high expectations of catching one of those Alpers Trophy Rainbow Trout.

We trolled for only about 1.5 hours and then got blown off the lake by high winds. We did not catch any of the big Alpers but the fishing was great with a number of average-sized rainbows being caught and released.

We returned to the cabins where we relaxed with a great cocktail hour on the deck of the Eastern Brook Cabin. We sat there, sipping Manhattans and red wine, munching on appetizers and enjoying the company and spectacular scenery.

That was followed by a great dinner of fried chicken, macaroni salad, ranch-style beans, rolls and butter.

Early Saturday morning, Jim and I returned to fishing on the lake.

We trolled along the north shore at a depth of about 25-30 feet with silver flasher blades and black/silver, floating, No. 5 Rapala lures.

The action was fast and furious, but again, no big Alpers.

The wind came up about 9 a.m. and once again, we got blown off the lake.

We spent the rest of the day, just being lazy, relaxing on the deck, sunning, working crossword puzzles, reading books and visiting with one another.

It was very relaxing, after our hectic schedule of the past two months.

On Sunday, Jim and I were out on the lake at 6 a.m. We fished with the same results as the previous two days.

Lots of action but no big Alpers.

Oh well, maybe, next time.

About mid-morning, we reluctantly loaded our two trucks and began the return trip to Carson City.

We had a great time during our stay and all four of us are already looking forward to returning to that little piece of heaven located in the Eastern Sierra, known as Convict Lake.

You, too, just might want to give serious consideration to visiting Convict Lake for a summer getaway weekend.

It's only a phone call away and you won't go wrong. I guarantee it!

For information about Convict Lake, the resort, lodge, campground, restaurant, fishing, etc., call (800) 992-2260.

-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you the name of the wilderness area that adjoins Convict Lake.

If he is a serious backpacker, grins and says, "The John Muir Wilderness Area," you are in deep trouble.


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