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Eastern Sierra Trout to Take Center Stage


Windy but warm at the lower elevations, snow and ice at the upper levels and an unpredictable mix in between was the forecast Thursday for Saturday's opening of the Eastern Sierra trout fishing season.

Motels were 95% booked in Bishop, where the high temperature was 80 degrees. But it was in the 40s to 50s and cloudy around Bridgeport, 90 miles to the north, with storms skirting the area.

Forty of the most accessible streams and lakes have been stocked with 70,000 catchable-size rainbow trout from regional state hatcheries. Crowley Lake, at its highest water level in years, has not been stocked but last year received 335,000 undersized fish that have grown to beyond legal size at three-quarters of a pound to a pound.

In year-round fishing areas of Inyo County, Jerry Cook of Bishop caught a 4 1/2-pound trout in the Owens River near Line Street two weeks ago, and a 12-pound catch was reported at Pleasant Valley Reservoir.

One point of interest will be the quality of fishing on the East Walker River, a premier trout stream that was destroyed by a heavy release of water from Bridgeport Reservoir four years ago. Restoration dredging of silt was completed last year.

Regional reports:

Bishop area--Lakes Sabrina, South and North are frozen, but recent warm weather has left the ice unreliable for ice fishing. The road to North Sabrina is closed, and some campgrounds are closed or recommended for self-contained recreational vehicles only. The Rock Creek Lake road is closed, although camping is available on the creek at the lower loop of French Camp.

Mammoth Lakes area--Crowley is virtually free of ice. Wind is expected Saturday, so anglers are advised to fish early and get off the lake. Sunday is expected to be mild. Roads in the Mammoth Lakes basin are closed, and there are five to six feet of hardpack snow on top of the ice, making ice fishing difficult. Convict Lake is ice free, with the campground scheduled to open today at 2 p.m. The Hot Creek road and the Owens River Road from U.S. 395 to Benton Crossing are open.

June Lake Loop area--All lakes are ice free and accessible. Lee Vining Creek is open and heavily stocked, although some upper access is limited. Grant Lake is full enough to launch private boats. Lundy Lake is one-third open.

Bridgeport area--Twin Lakes and Bridgeport Reservoir are open. The reservoir is still too low for launching, but rental boats are available. Mono Village and the Robinson Creek campgrounds are open, and the West Walker River is clear. The East Walker is fishable from the dam. The Virginia Lakes, Buckeye and Sawmill areas are closed.

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