Yahoo! Saturday is that very special day in the fishing world
Guess what is going to happen this coming Saturday morning (April 26)?
And, do you want to guess what many tens of thousands of people (including Don Q) have spent many months eagerly waiting for?
Yep, you guessed it: Saturday is the Opening Day of the 2008 California fishing season, which will then remain open until Nov. 15.
That long-awaited Opener is finally here! Yahoo! It’s time to have fun in the Sierras again!
As I wrote last year, if you, too, would like to fish somewhere in California this weekend, here’s some miscellaneous information:
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 and Rush Creek will open, to name just a very, very few of California’s “gazillions” of moving waters.
At this time of the year, you can normally expect high, cold, fast and murky waters in most of those creeks and rivers. This year is no exception to that rule.
Your best bet will probably be the East Walker River, downstream from Bridgeport Reservoir to the California/Nevada stateline, because of the controlled waterflow from that reservoir.
However, be advised that specific area has very special fishing rules and restrictions: Minimum size 18 inches, artificial flies and lures with barbless hooks.
Don’t say you were not warned.
That trophy section is noted for producing large, trophy-sized rainbow and brown trout, and this weekend, you can expect to encounter many fly fishermen in chest waders in the river.
LAKES and RESERVOIRS:
Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, the June Lake Loop (Grant, Gull, June and Silver Lakes), Lundy Lake and Upper and Lower Twin Lakes are just a few that will be opening (weather and road conditions permitting at this time of the year).
Your best bet for a trophy-sized fish will probably be to troll from a boat at either Upper or Lower Twin Lakes, which are located about 15 miles west of Bridgeport.
They are both noted for producing spectacular huge brown trout, large rainbow trout and small Kokanee salmon.
The last two California state record brown trout (25+ pounds) came from those two lakes. Who knows, maybe this weekend, you could set the new brown record.
Another good location for a big rainbow or brown in that same general area is Bridgeport Reservoir. You can fish it either from shore or in a boat.
If the weather is decent (yesterday, it was snowing in the mountains), you can expect to encounter huge crowds of anglers, all along the entire length of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, no matter where you go.
Those big crowds will be concentrated at a number of popular trout fishing destinations such as Crowley Lake, Convict Lake, the June Lake Loop, Lundy Lake, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes, Bridgeport Reservoir, the West Walker River, the East Walker River, Robinson Creek and Buckeye Creek. Let me re-phrase that statement: Those areas will be jam-packed with hordes of fishermen.
Part of the reason for the big crowds is that many of those waters will have been planted by California Fish and Game (DF&G) and Alper’s Trout Hatchery with thousands of rainbow trout, ranging from the typical DFG planter size to the huge 4-8 pound Alper’s Trophy Rainbow Trout.
If you’re seeking some peaceful solitude this weekend, you might want to stay home and fish somewhere in Nevada. If you go to any of those California waters, don’t say you weren’t warned about the crowded conditions both on the shorelines and out on the lakes.
The opening of the California trout fishing season also means that once the winter snowpack recedes and the surface ice melts, 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 few.
At this time of the year, you can expect to still encounter snow drifts and ice-covered lakes just about anywhere above an elevation of about 8,500 feet.
If you plan to go to those higher attitudes this weekend, be prepared with cross country skis, snowshoes or a snowmobile (where legal) because you’re going to definitely need them.
And, don’t forget to take an ice auger. You’re going to definitely need that item for sure.
If you plan to fish on the Opening Day or for the entire Opening Weekend, good luck to you.
Most importantly, remember to wear your California fishing license where it is readily visible above the waist or the “Friendly Old Game Warden” is not going to be very friendly, when he is busy writing out your citation.
And, if you get lucky and catch a trophy-sized fish, don’t forget to take photos for the Outdoors page of the Nevada Appeal.
Be sure to include the necessary “Who, What, Why, When, Where, How” and telephone number.”
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon he can’t tell you where Elaine and I will be fishing on the opening weekend of the California season.
If he grins and says, “Weather permitting, they plan to hike three miles into Roosevelt and Lane Lakes in the Hoover Wilderness Area, west of Bridgeport, to fish for brook and cutthroat trout,” he could also be going on that hike.
Those two lakes are reached by a hiking trail from the U.S.F.S. Leavitt Meadows Campground.
• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.