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SPORTS WEEKEND

Sunshine a Good Ice-Breaker for Eastern Sierra Opener

April 24, 1998|PETE THOMAS

What a week of sunshine won't do for those who have been living amid snow and ice all winter.

"I am burnt to a crisp," said John Frederickson, whose company runs the concessions at June Lake Marina and Crowley Lake Fish Camp, and the campgrounds at Convict Lake. "I screwed up and got nailed by the sun. We had 65- to 70-degree-plus temperatures for about the past week."

The recent blast of summerlike weather is obviously good news to the thousands of fishermen heading up U.S. 395 today for the annual rite of spring known as the opener of the Eastern Sierra trout season. It has helped remove some of the ice that would have otherwise put a damper on the fishing Saturday morning.

All of the Bridgeport area lower-elevation lakes are free of ice and heavily stocked.

In the scenic June Loop, only Silver Lake remained mostly iced over as of Thursday morning. June Lake was more than half open water and Frederickson expected the lake to be in great shape for opening day. Gull Lake will probably have at least half open water and Grant Lake will be nearly ice-free. All except Silver Lake received heavy trout plants.

At the ever-popular Crowley Lake, high winds were breaking up the ice Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday afternoon the reservoir was ice-free.

Dick Canton, general manager at the fish camp, said anglers in motor homes, some of whom were turned away by the U.S. Forest Service at nearby Convict Lake, were lining up at the gate as early as Wednesday morning.

Convict, which regularly produces some of the biggest trout on opening day, remained largely iced over and its banks are still covered with snow. There will be some open water around the marina and, although the campgrounds remain closed, fishing will be allowed. But it surely won't be the most pleasant place to be.

Lakes throughout the Mammoth Lakes basin remain iced over as well.

Of special note to campers who may find their favorite areas closed: The June Mountain ski resort has opened its parking lot to campers for opening weekend.

El Nino or not, the season begins at dawn Saturday and lasts until dusk on Oct. 31.

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