California looking at changing fishing seasons
by Doug Busey
Hello fellow anglers, opening day fishing season for California is only a week away. But, before we get to your pre-season report. There are rumors that may have fact to them going around. California is looking into changing fishing seasons on many lakes and streams. Some areas may be open all year around and possibly change restrictions on others; being that Topaz is a bi-state body of water. The opening day ceremony that so many have come to love and look forward to on Jan. 1 of each year, may be a thing of the past. This is not set in stone as yet.
There have been many meetings of both sides to ask for anglers input and concerns. There will be an open meeting at Topaz Lodge in the near future to discuss the new proposal. I will keep you updated on when that will happen. You can also go online to California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Type in “inland trout angling regulation simplification.” You can look at the proposal and make a comment. Comments will be taken up to May 3 of this year. As you will see in this report, some areas are not accessible or are not open to fishing until later in the year.
LAKE TAHOE: The fishing on Lake Tahoe is awesome. The Ramp at Cave Rock Boat Launch is clear of snow. Always be careful of icy conditions on the ramp as some do not drain out the water of the boat trailers before pulling up. The fishing for limits of Mackinaw Lake Trout has been very good to great. Quality fish are being netted from 3 to 17 pounds. Dodgers and minnows, flashers and minnows and Flatfish in chrome or white have been productive as the Mackinaw are feeding to put back the pounds that they lost spawning. Action for the Lake Trout in waters on Tahoe from 80 to 250 feet. The trick is to find out were they are still feeding and are not full. Another technique is to wait until later in the day as they will start feeding again. Bounce the bottom and speed up every now and then to activate a strike. South Shore shelf, Cal Neva point, Tahoe City Shelf and Sugar Pine Point are stacked with pods of large active Mackinaw. Fresh minnows always help with the bite. Rainbows, and Browns can also be had as well If you work in shallow tight with small/medium stick baits in brown or rainbow schemes. For more information, call Captain Gene St. Denis Blue Ribbon Fishing Charters (530) 544-6552.
TAYLOR CREEK, TROUT CREEK, UPPER TRUCKEE RIVER: All located on the south end of Lake Tahoe. All tributaries leading into Lake Tahoe are closed to fishing until July 1.
CAPLES LAKE: The lake still has a lot of snow on it, which has started to settle and melt. The resort and the day use facilities are still closed. They are planning to open before Memorial weekend. If we don’t get any more snow storms.
RED LAKE: The lake is still with ice and has many footage of snow on top. I would recommend to wait until mid to end of may before venturing up.
BLUE LAKES: The road is closed at highway 88. There is still approximately 20 feet of snow up there and will probably not open until July.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: The campground is scheduled to open May 3. There is a change this year. You will have to go online to “recreation.gov” to make your reservations in advance. This means no more going up a day early and putting a lawn chair in front of a site. You can take your time and know it will be there when you arrive. The fishing has picked up. An angler recently caught a nice 8 pound rainbow, while another caught a 4 pound cutthroat. Night crawlers have had most success. Fly anglers have been doing good with chartreuse woolly buggers. For more information stop by Todds bait and Tackle.
CARSON RIVER EAST FORK CALIFORNIA SIDE: The waters have been fluctuating over the last couple weeks. With the warmer temperatures the snow is melting quicker. I would use caution when fishing the rivers this year. I have not spoken to Alpine County but I would not be surprised if the fish plant was delayed this year. I did inquire with CDFW, they are not planting the river for the opener.
CARSON RIVER WEST FORK CALIFORNIA SIDE: I took a visit to Picketts Junction last week. There was still a lot of snow on the ground. CDFW will not be planting for the opener. Please use extreme caution on the banks of any river this year. The snow has just melted and the ground is saturated, not to mention the water temperature is in the high 30 degree range. Not the best of openers, but I tell it like I see it. I would rather tell you now and see you in a month or so. Then you read about a tragedy on the river.
MARKLEEVILLE CREEK: The river this week is running high but fishable. The CDFW has scheduled a plant of catchable rainbows next week. I would expect to see Alpine County plant some trout as well.
WOLF CREEK: The road is still closed.
SILVER CREEK: The gate was still up and the road closed. The first area near the highway was accessible to camping. But with the warmer days, I feel the river will turn a little brown.
TOPAZ LODGE FISHING DERBY: The derby has ended with many large fish caught this year as well as many tagged fish. Final results are: First place Jeff Sullivan at 9 pounds, 11.1 ounce; second place Aaron Talhelm at 9 pounds 7.7 ounces; third place Bob Brister at 9 pounds 4.8 ounces; fourth place David Rodden at 8 pounds, 13 ounces; and fifth place Steve Neilsen at 8 pounds 9 ounces.
EBBETTS PASS, MONITOR PASS: Highway 4 will not be open due to there is still over 20 feet of snow on the road. Cal Trans is working hard to get the pass open. For updates go to Cal Trans website and click on travel to put in the road you are inquiring about.
JUNE LAKE AREA: The 41st annual “June Lake Loop Monster Trout Contest” on opening day. Contest is open to all those fishing Loop waters with no registration or fees required. Bring your “Monster” to be weighed and recorded at Ernie’s in town or any of the lake Marinas. Your fish must be present at the awards ceremony in front of Ernie’s that evening. Weather forecasts leading up to opener indicate mostly sunny to partly sunny days with little precipitation and temps in the mid 50s to mid 60s. Opening Day looks like partly cloudy in the low 60s. If that holds true those are perfect conditions so let’s keep our collective fingers crossed. Until we start fishing of course.
FLYFISHING GUIDE SERVICE: (760) 920-0726 Mark: Mark fishes and guides throughout the year in waters that are open year round. He believes that opener should be great in all ice free water. Spring runoff will affect the fishing in creeks and rivers depending on how fast the warm up is and may continue into July what with the amount of snow we had this winter.
BIG ROCK RESORT, JUNE LAKE: (760) 658-7717 Mike and Laurie: Should be ice free by opener especially with the wind we have today. Expecting good fishing as always on opener. All docks and boats will be in.
NOTE: June Lake has gone from being about 5 percent open to 60 percent in just two days due to sunny conditions and wind churning up the ice.
JUNE LAKE MARINA: (760) 648-7726 Abby: “Fishing should be killer.” (Bad news for the trout) We are releasing trophy trout from our pens prior to opener in addition to CDFW and Mono Co. anticipated plants. We predict the overall winner of The Monster Trout Contest will come out of June Lake.
GULL LAKE MARINA: (769) 648-7539 William: “Fishing will be awesome at Gull due to the long freeze this year and the short period from ice free to Opener”. Lake is still mostly iced up and William thinks will be about 40% open by the 27th. I personally am confident there will be more open water with the warmer temps predicted.
SILVER LAKE RESORT: (760) 648-7525 Kelly: Portion of Highway 158, June Lake Loop Road, that has been closed all winter is scheduled to reopen this week. Lake should be mostly ice free and fishing will be great.
RUSH CREEK: Rush Creek, running out of Silver Lake into Grant Lake on Opener typically produces excellent Rainbow and Brown Trout catches.
GRANT LAKE MARINA: Lake is totally ice free including the narrows and upper section. Marina will be fully open along with boat ramp. As usual expect fishing to be Opener great. Looks as through that most of the dirt roads to the back side of Grant are open. Do watch out for muddy areas though.
For more information on the June lakes area, call the guys at Ernie’s Tackle and Ski Shop at 760-648-7756. See John or Scott.
Good luck on your opening day fishing experience. If you get a photo of your catch, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to see you on the waters this year. We have plenty of water, and the lakes and streams will do great through the summer and way into fall. Good fishin’ and tight lines.