Saturday is Opening Day for fishing in the Golden State | NevadaAppeal.com
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Saturday is Opening Day for fishing in the Golden State

Don Quilici

Hey Gang, it’s almost here: That magical day that tens of thousands of people wait for each and every year: The last Saturday in April!

More importantly, for all those folks, Saturday, April 29 also means it’s the Opening Day of the California fishing season.

Yahoo! It’s finally here!

That fishing season will remain open until Nov. 15, but everyone is chomping at the bit to get out there on Opening Day.

Weather permitting (that’s always a big “if” at this time of the year), if you want to go fishing Saturday, here’s some information that might prove useful:

CREEKS AND RIVERS:

The West Carson River, East Carson River, West Walker River, East Walker River, Little Walker River, Truckee River, Buckeye Creek, Green Creek, Mammoth Creek, Red Creek, Robinson Creek, Rush Creek and Virginia Creek will open, to name just a few of the moving waters.

However, you can expect high, cold, fast and murky waters in most of those creeks and rivers from the enormously deep snowpacks of this year.

Your best bet will probably be the East Walker River, downstream from Bridgeport Reservoir to the California/Nevada stateline, because of controlled waterflow from the reservoir.

Be advised that area has very special fishing restrictions: Minimum size 18 inches, artificial flies and lures with barbless hooks.

That section is noted for large, trophy-sized rainbow and German brown trout, and you will find many fly fishermen in chest waders in this area.

PONDS/LAKES/RESERVOIRS:

Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, Dynamo Pond, the June Lake Loop (Grant, Gull, June and Silver Lakes), Lundy Lake, the Mammoth Lakes (George, Mamie, Mary and Twin), North Lake, Sabrina Lake, South Lake, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes and the Virginia Lakes area. Most of them can normally be reached by a vehicle (weather and road conditions permitting).

Your best bet for big fish will be to troll from a boat at either Upper or Lower Twin Lakes. Those two lakes are located approximately 15 miles west of Bridgeport.

They are noted for large rainbows and huge German browns, including the current California state record brown that weighed more than 25 pounds!

Another sleeper this Opener for big rainbows or browns is Bridgeport Reservoir.

CROWDS:

You can expect to encounter huge crowds of anglers, all along the entire length of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.

They will be heavily concentrated at popular destinations such as Crowley Lake, Convict Lake, the June Lake Loop, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes, Bridgeport Reservoir, the West Walker River, the East Walker River, Robinson and Buckeye Creeks.

Many of those waters will have been planted by California Fish and Game and Alper’s Hatchery with thousands of rainbow trout, ranging from typical planter size to the huge, 4-8 pound Alper’s Trophy Rainbow Trout.

If you’re seeking solitude, you better go somewhere else. Don’t say that you weren’t warned .

WALK-IN WATERS:

The opening of the California trout fishing season also means that once the winter snowpack melts (if it ever does this year!) and the surface ice melts (if it ever does this year!), hikers can fish at countless walk-in, back-country lakes, such as Burro, East, Fremont, Gilman, Upper and Lower Hoover, Kirman (Carmen), Lane, Nutter, Upper, Lower and Middle Par Value, Poore, Roosevelt, Secret and West, to name a very, very few.

At this time of the year, you will encounter deep snow drifts and ice-covered lakes just about anywhere above an elevation of about 8,000 feet. That’s a given!

Go prepared with cross country skis, snowshoes or a snowmobile (where legal) because you’re going to need them.

And, don’t forget to take an ice auger with an extra extension.

FINALLY:

If you plan to fish on the Opening Day or Opening Weekend, good luck to you!

Remember to wear your California license where it is readily visible above the waist or the game warden is not going to be a happy camper!

And, remember to take photos of your big catches!

— Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon he can’t tell you where I normally fish on the opening weekend.

If he grins and says, “Don likes to hike into and fish at Roosevelt-Lane Lakes in the Hoover Wilderness Area (weather permitting),” he might have been with me on one of those past opening days.

— Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.