I just returned from filming a new show in the Eastern High Sierra for my weekly Fishing Ventures Television on Fox Sports West. To say the least, this was one of the most challenging annual trout openers I ever experienced.
We started out with the idea of doing some shore fishing at Crowley Lake. What we did not know was that the lake water level was down thirty feet. Our crew decided to make a radical attempt at reaching a remote cove on Crowley to find a bank we could fish. I ended up driving my compact Toyota Prius off road, on a loose-packed ground, to get to this “secret” hot spot. More than once, I wondered if my low-to-the-ground Prius would have the under-carriage ripped away. When we finally got to this cove and walked down to the bank, we found ourselves in six inches of mud! This area was deemed un-fishable.
We then motored to Grant Lake about 20 miles north of Crowley. We caught a few fish off the bank but had obviously missed the early morning bite for the opening day. Our next stop was to return south a few miles and try Silver Lake. Here, too, we caught a couple of trout from shore but again missed out on the prime morning action. All in all, day one of our filming-fishing expedition was a bust.
Regathering our spirits and angling prowess, I lead our crew to Convict Lake a few miles south of the town of Mammoth Lakes. I know Convict well enough to guide on it. Working the deeper drop-offs in up to 35 feet of water, I eeked out a five fish limit primarily fishing an assortment of miniature soft plastic swim baits on a 1/32 ounce jig head from our pontoon boat.
The final day of filming would prove to be the best at Silver Lake. Setting anchor on a subtle drop-off in our rental skiff, my cameraman and I began to really work this “break”, as it is termed hard. Our anchor was set in five feet of water, and we casted out into 12–15 feet.
Now here is the interesting thing: we fished a simple split-shot rig. This consisted of a tiny lead split shot crimped about 24 inches above a #10 Owner Mosquito hook. The tiny shot would allow us to move our soft plastic lures slowly through the weedy bottom without getting hung up. The Owner #10 Mosquito hook is crucial, because it is so light it allows those soft plastic baits to float two feet up above the bottom.
And, there’s more! Using P-Line Fluoroclear line, in none other than 4lb test, I tied my hook directly—i.e. no 2lb leader material. The P-Line Fluoroclear is essentially a hybrid monofilament with a fluorocarbon coating. It casts beautifully and handles well on small ultralite spinning reels. Normally, I would always recommend a 2lb length of leader on these clear Sierra trout lakes.
But amazingly, these otherwise line-shy rainbows and browns at Silver Lake ate my baits readily using the 4lb test P-Line Fluoroclear. The extra breaking test of the line gave me an added advantage of pulling trout up to 2-1/2 pounds easily out of the submerged weeds.
The results? We caught—and released—twenty trout off that spot using this technique!