California trout fishing season to open on Saturday
Many thousands of eager anglers (including Don and Elaine) will be now able to fish a large number of California streams, creeks and rivers that have been closed since way back on Oct. 31 and Nov. 15, last year.
Here’s some of those fishable waters opening up on Saturday morning:
CREEKS AND RIVERS:
They include 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, Virginia Creek, to name a just a few.
Note: At this time of the year, you can usually expect high, cold and fast waters in most of those creeks and rivers.
Your best bet will be the East Walker River, below Bridgeport Reservoir, for large German brown and rainbow trout (Note: This area has special restrictions).
PONDS, LAKES AND RESERVOIRS:
In addition, fishermen will also be able to fish at countless other ponds, lakes and reservoirs such as 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, all of which can be reached by vehicle, if there are no problems with snow-covered roads.
Note: At the present time, the ice is off Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, the June Lake Loop, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes.
Your best bet will be either or both Upper or Lower Twin Lakes for large German brown or rainbow trout.
These two lakes are famous for HUGE German browns, including the current California state record brown that weighed more than 25 pounds!
The opening of the 2003 trout fishing seasons also means that once this Winter’s snowpack melts and recedes and the surface ice melts, hikers can fish at numerous walk-in lakes, such as Burro, East, Fremont, Gilman, Upper and Lower Hoover, Nutter, Upper, Lower and Middle Par Value, Summit and West.
Note: As reported in a previous column, if the weather permits, Elaine and I will be hiking into Roosevelt and Lane Lakes in the Hoover Wilderness Area.
However, the weather forecast does not look good, so we will have to play a cautious waiting game.
If it’s not stormy, we will hike in on Saturday morning.
If it is stormy, we will wait until the following weekend.
Note: At the present time, the ice is reported off of Kirman (Carmen Lake).
It should also be off Lane, Poore, Roosevelt and Secret Lakes, but anyone hiking into those areas can expect to encounter snow-covered trails.
Your best bet will be Kirman (Carmen) Lake for football-sized Eastern brook trout (This lake has special restrictions).
Anglers interested in fishing California’s backcountry should expect deep snow and ice-covered lakes anywhere above an elevation of about 8,000 feet.
If you’re one of those hardy anglers, go prepared for Winter with cross country skis, snowshoes or a snowmobile (where legal).
You’ll need them to get to your favorite walk-in lake.
And if you do venture into the backcountry, remember these tips:
1. Tell someone exactly where you will be hiking and your “fail-safe” time for returning home.
In the event something unforeseen should happen, searchers will have a fighting chance to find you.
2. Always carry survival gear and a first-aid kit.
3. Remember to carry a snow shovel and an ice-auger to use when you reach that special lake. You will need them to get through the snow and ice on those backcountry lakes.
The waters that open on April 26 also include California’s remote wilderness areas, such as Carson-Iceberg, Desolation, Emigrant, Hoover, John Muir, Mokelumne, etc.
Note: These are the areas where you can expect to encounter deep snow and ice-covered lakes at this time of the year.
Also opening will be all the fishing waters in King’s Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.
Note: These areas are still firmly in the grip of “Old Man Winter.”
LARGE CROWDS OF PEOPLE:
If the weather is reasonably nice, expect to encounter huge crowds of anglers along the entire length of the Eastern Sierra Front.
Those hordes of people will be heavily concentrated mostly at such popular drive-in fishing destinations as Crowley Lake, Convict Lake, the June Lake Loop, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes, the West Walker River, the East Walker River, Robinson Creek and Buckeye Creek.
Note: Many of those waters will have been heavily planted by California Fish and Game and Alper’s Hatchery with thousands of planter rainbow trout, ranging from typical planter size to the huge Alper’s Trophy Rainbow Trout.
For example: Bridgeport Reservoir has been planted with 1,400 pounds of rainbow trout in the 1-1.5 pound class.
If you are one of those would-be opening day fishermen, here is some last-minute advice for you:
Be sure you have and properly display a valid California fishing license.
Drive carefully and defensively on your way to and from fishing.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to and from your destination.
Dress for rapidly changing weather conditions (expect the worst!).
If the weather is bad, relax and stay home. Defer fishing to another week.
Carefully obey the rules and regulations for whatever water(s) you fish.
When catching trout, practice “Catch and Release” fishing.
Take a photo and turn them loose.
When releasing your catch, practice “Airless Release” (this means keep the fish in the water).
Take lots of tasty “munchies” to enjoy while on your fishing trip, but leave the alcohol at home.
When you return home that will be the time to drink and celebrate.
Have a Great Opening Day!
And, take plenty of photos!
— Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you how long it will take us to hike into Roosevelt and Lane Lakes, if we can hike in there on Saturday morning.
If he grins and says, “It will take Don and Elaine about 1.5 hours to hike in on Saturday,” he has probably been with me on one of my many previous treks into those two lakes.
That first hike of the year is always slow due to a combination of it being the first hike of the year, snow drifts on the trail and the heavy fishing and rafting equipment in my backpack.