On April 27th this year, legions – make that thousands – of fishermen from across the country will converge in the Eastern High Sierra for the annual trout season opener. For many anglers this is not a trip – but rather a pilgrimage.
As a sporting event, this is one that traverses the generations. Grandfathers, fathers and sons will make this annual trek. Their female generational counterparts will be there as well, as more and more women and girls are actively involved is the pursuit of high elevation trout fishing.
I have personally fished almost every stream, river and lake in this region. There are several lakes to choose from to kick off the trout opener April 27th. Let me share with you my hot picks for where to start the season.
Crowley Lake – This is the granddaddy of all the Eastern High Sierra waters. Not a visually pleasing lake, Crowley initially appears at first to be a large flooded meadow. But, boy, oh boy, can it produce quality catches on opening day!
Crowley can be great for trolling, casting lures, and soaking baits. It can be exceptional for bank fishermen the first few days of the trout season, with many quality rainbow and brown trout caught off the bank.
Convict Lake – Across the highway from Crowley is idyllic Convict Lake. At about 170 acres, Convict is a bare fraction of Crowley’s surface acreage. But this lake is a picture postcard of High Sierra beauty. Anglers can hike around the entire Convict Lake. Both shore fishermen and boaters score equally well, again on rainbows and occasionally some big browns. You will never forget watching your first sunrise over this lake. Spectacular!
Silver Lake – Like Convict, Silver Lake is small in stature but mighty in terms of sheer numbers of limits pulled out during the opening season. This is a great lake for float tubers and bank fishermen. Traditional trollers do equally well. Stop at the Silver Lake store right on the lake for lunch with one of their famous Silver Lake buffalo burgers!
Mary and George – I combine these two higher elevation lakes as one destination since they are so close together. A lot will depend upon whether the ice has thawed in the upper Mammoth Lakes basin if you want to target Mary and George. Both of these scenic lakes can be absolutely wide open for boaters and float-tubers if you hit them right after ice out!
There are many other lakes to sample as well. Gull, June, Grant, Bridgeport and Twin are all part of the constellation of waters known as the Eastern High Sierra. California State record brown trout live in Bridgeport and Twin, while savvy anglers can fish Gull, June and Grant all in the same day.
I can’t wait for my trout pilgrimage to start. I’ll see you on April 27th!