Mary Myers has declared the Eastern Sierra's 2-year drought unofficially over.
Myers, who runs Bridgeport's Walker River Lodge with her husband Phil, said this week: "We have the most snow I've seen around here for a long time. We plowed more in December, in 1 month, than in any of the 10 years before this, plus we still have January and February, which are normally our heaviest snow months."
The Bridgeport reservoir and East Walker River are out Myers' back door. Those two prime fisheries were wiped out by late last summer when Nevada farmers exercised their options and drained off the water.
But with an anticipated heavy snow runoff this year, Myers said: "I have no doubt the reservoir will be filled by July. In fact, it may be too full."
Rick Rockel of Ken's Sporting Goods in Bridgeport was more guarded.
"We're way ahead of normal for this year, but we need about 150% of normal to get back to where we were," he said.
Also, the fisheries will take awhile to bounce back.
"The reservoir just needs to be planted, and you'll have good quality fishing by the end of next year," Rockel said.
But it may be 4 or 5 years before the brown trout return to traditional 4- to 6-pound size, and the future of the river is uncertain. Rockel is CalTrout's stream keeper for the East Walker.
"It's still difficult to estimate the damage," Rockel said. "The food chain was wiped out by 8 feet of silt."
Even with optimum conditions, Rockel said, it may be 4 or 5 years before any big browns show up in the river again.
The Hunt Saboteurs, who were partly successful in disrupting the recent desert bighorn sheep hunt in the eastern Mojave, were out in force when the Anaheim Sports, Vacation and RV Show opened last weekend.
About 2 dozen members carried picket signs in front of the Anaheim Convention Center, protesting not only the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep, which had a booth inside, but all of the other hunting outfitters with their displays of mounted game.
As before, the saboteurs' sights were set on Loren Lutz, the sheep society president, who stayed inside and avoided confrontation.
The 1989 Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series, where a tour of experts is on hand to offer "a first-class, educational course on marine angling," will be held at the Long Beach City College Auditorium Jan. 28.
Most of those involved are well respected in the industry and will be available to share information on tackle, techniques, and how to catch fish in a particular area.
The Long Beach program will deal primarily with local fishing, with some emphasis on Baja California.
Instructors include such nationally recognized authorities as Mark Sosin, Lefty Kreh, George Poveromo and Rip Cunningham.
West Coast experts include Nick Curcionne, Kit McNear, Dick Gaumer, Jim Gilmore, Tony Pena and Ed Martin.
The fee is $25, which includes an 88-page textbook written by Sosin and Poveromo. For more information call Outdoor Associates at (305) 769-0325.
The California State Park system's new policy for mountain bicycle use went into effect New Year's Day.
Generally, bikes may be ridden on paved and unpaved roads, unless otherwise posted, but all trails are closed to them. Unpaved roads are defined as fire roads, dirt roads and all service roads more than 5 feet wide.
As before, bikes are prohibited in all areas classified as wilderness and will be restricted to paved roads in state reserves and cultural or natural preserves.
A notice distributed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation, also noted, however, that "trails currently approved for mountain bike use should be given special consideration for continued use," and encouraged district superintendents to work with local trail users in making such determinations.
Therefore, the notice said, the policy will not affect trail use until Oct. 1, giving time to determine the major use of trails and to post signs.
Marriott's Fly Fishing Center at Fullerton has scheduled 1 1/2-day beginner schools on weekends starting Saturday. Novice classes are also available. The store also will offer a series of 3 rod construction classes taught by professional Paul Brown, starting Jan. 29; a class in leader construction and knots Jan. 24, and another on relating insects to artificial patterns, with expert Maggie Merriman, Thursday night, Feb. 16. For more information, phone 1 (800) 367-2299. . . . Dennis Bitton, longtime conservationist and journalist, will present a show on fishing opportunities in Southeast Idaho at the Sierra Pacific Flyfishers' dinner meeting Jan. 19 at the Odyssey Restaurant in Mission Hills. A video and slide show on fly fishing opportunities in Alaska will be presented Sunday from 2:30-5 p.m. at the Fishermen's Spot in Van Nuys. For information on either presentation, call (818) 785-7306.