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Mike Stevens
"mstevens395" - Guest Blogger

This year's Sierra trout opener will be different than usual.

Guest Blog by: Mike Stevens 4/19/2012
The Eastern Sierra trout season opens on April 28, and while the mild winter that essentially the whole nation had this year is generally a bad thing as the area needs water from snowmelt, it should make for a solid opener with a lot more fishable water available than in most years past. When I fished the Mammoth Lakes area last July, there was more snow than there is now. My favorite backcountry lakes were inaccessible (and frozen anyway), creeks were blown out and stained, and even fishing the lakes in town required navigating entire shorelines buried in deep snow.

This year looks to be quite different. As of a week ago, the Mammoth Lakes loop was open, Convict Lake resort was open for business, and even the driving range in Mammoth was open. Access to this much water is a good thing for the opener because the crowds will be more spread out across the area rather than battling for a limited amount of space in a typical year. If I were going up for the opener (Which I am not. I never really had the desire to. I would rather fish the "closer!"), I would stay away from the typical crowd-gathering locations like Crowley Lake and Convict Lake and seek out places where I can put a little space between me and the next guy. While Lake Mary in Mammoth is a very popular spot, it also boasts a lot more fishable shoreline than other lakes in the area. So if you want to stay close to the buzz surrounding the event that is the opener, you will probably be able to find a spot at Mary without another angler right on top of you. A short drive up 395 will bring you to June Lake which also has a lot of shoreline, and it puts a little distance between you and the main body people which is generally between Mammoth Lakes and the Bishop Creek drainage.

If you want to fish creeks, put in some effort in the form of hiking, rock-hopping and bushwacking to get yourself to some lower pressure areas as roadside spots and campgrounds are going to be a zoo in terms of fishing pressure.

One one more thing you might try is fishing LATER than everyone else. If you decide to get up at 4am to start fishing, let me tell you, you won't be alone out there. Sure, it can't hurt and it adds more fishing to your day, but there will be guys out in some places at literally a minute past midnight on opening day. But, people tend to start heading in for dinner when it starts getting dark, and this is a great time to be on the lake. If you are on the shore of any of the drive up lakes in the area from 7pm until you literally need a headlamp or lantern to see what you are doing, you will notice a TON of trout activity less than 30 feet off shore and likely right up against the shore as well right when everyone else is leaving. This combination of active fish and lessening angler pressure can result in a quick limit for the guys who stick it out until dark.
A Southern California native, Stevens specializes in targeting trout in the Eastern Sierra region of the state, but the San Diego resident also has experience fishing the lakes of San Diego, Riverside, and L.A. counties. He spent five years in the fishing tackle industry, and he also spent two years working in a marine fish hatchery. On the saltwater side, he enjoys the local offshore scene and surf fishing, and he has fished from Montana to California to Cabo San Lucas. As a writer, his work has been published in Western Outdoor News, Fish Taco Chronicles, and Fish Wrap Magazine to name a few, and he is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of California.
Blog content © Mike Stevens