Category Archives: Fishing

Ever had a Big Fish Break your Line?

Is there a worse feeling in the world than when a big fish breaks your line?
But very few get a shot at redemption on the same fish.
Thats what happened to this Angler

Watch as he hooks into a big gar and loses it. But he gets a second chance when they just happen to run across the float a couple of hours later…

Now that is just a crazy fishing tale! It’s great that he’s got it on video. Not many would likely believe the story otherwise. That was some excellent work to get the line re-tied without spooking the gar and having it run again guys.

Although it seems the gar had the last laugh in this story when it knocked the fisherman flat to the ground. Still, an incredible catch and tale these guys will no doubt be sharing for a long time to come.

Photo: Screen Captured from Youtube
Sources: Lunkers TV, Travis Smola

We’ve all heard the stories of the one that got away

Fish prove too much for these anglers to handle in this fish fail compilation.
It was this big! We’ve all heard the stories of the one that got away. We’ve been telling our buddies those tales since the first time dad handed us that old Zebco. Fortunately, for these lucky (or unlucky) anglers someone was right there capture the evidence of their epic fail on camera. Sometimes we just get caught by surprise.

These guys can let the video speak for itself. With this fishing fail compilation, there’s no need to exaggerate the story.

Sources: Minuto de Pesca Facebook, Reid Vander Vein

Hold on tight to that nice fish you just caught

Or you’ll end up like this guy.
Getting a good photo of the big lunker you just caught has never been easier than it is in today’s age of cell phones and small digital cameras.

Now you just have to remember that the big fish you just pulled out of the water wants back in real bad.

Here’s how you get a wet photo of your fishing buddy:

To the guy taking the video and laughing his head off: enjoy it now because your time is coming.

After that, raise your hand if you or your fishing partner have lost a fish trying to get a picture of it.

If you said no, you haven’t been a fisherman long enough.

Sources: Beer and Fishing Facebook, Craig Raleigh

ARSC announces Costa Rica expansion!

Merry and I would like to officially announce that we are the new owners of the Sportfishing operation Pelagic Pursuits Costa Rica and the 31′ Luhrs Go Fish.  The boat is located at the world renowned Los Suenos Marina and Resort near Jaco, Costa Rica on the central pacific coast.
We now offer Offshore fishing for Sailfish, Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Stripe Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, and Wahoo. If Inshore fishing is your game then you’ll love the Rooster fish, Cubera, Grouper, Jacks, Snook, and Tarpon.
Together with Captain Randall, mates Luis and Abrancy, we plan to offer our clients, friends, and family the same quality of experience we’re known for in the PNW! You can also expect to see and use the best products from Okuma, Raymarine, Tuf-line, P-line, and more.
Dedicated to customer service, reliable charter boats, friendly crew, and CATCHING FISH, we plan to bring our charter fishing experience to the table in Costa Rica!
Getting there is easy!  Most major airlines (including Alaska Airlines) fly to San Jose International Airport (SJO).  From there the drive SW to the Jaco area is less than 90 minutes on modern highways.  Rental cars are inexpensive as are transfers if you prefer not to rent a car.  Transfers, lodging and fishing can all be reserved through Merry or myself.
What about All Rivers & Saltwater Charters???  Everything will be business as usual at ARSC with plans only to continue and improve our 13 year charter service in Washington State!  Merry and I will be in Washington State May-October, managing ARSC on the ground, and travel back and forth every other month to Costa Rica November-April.  We will always be available via email, and phone 365 days a year.

Take a look at this HD Video of one of our Offshore fishing trips!

The Go Fish!

Over the next year the Go Fish will get quite a make-over.  To name just a few things on the list:

  • – Install the full compliment of Raymarine Electronics, including high power CHIRP Sonar, and a large display.
  • – Outfit the boat with new Okuma fishing rods & reels, and many other cutting edge products.
  • – Re-upholster the cockpit bolsters, tower seat cushions, and client seating area.
  • – Have on-hand mission critical back-up parts that will reduce down time when break-downs occur.
 

Pricing:

  • Year-Round, Full-Day Offshore or Inshore…$1350, 4 ppl, $50 add’l for a fifth person, 5 max.
  • Year-Round, Half-Day Inshore…$1150, 4 ppl, $50 add’l for a fifth person, 5 max.
  • Full-Day Tortuga Island, no fishing, $1150, 4 ppl, $50 add’l passengers, 6 max.
  • Half-Day, Tortuga Island, no fishing, $1050, 4 ppl, $50 add’l passengers, 6 max.
  • Sunset Cruise, $300 (max 6 passengers)
  • *Peak Season Charter, December 24thJanuary 4th, Add $100 per trip. 
  • *Don’t forget fishing licenses (purchased at the dock for $), and gratuities for crew, 20% is customary and the guys really work for you to earn it.
“We look forward to getting you out fishing again!”
Mark & Merry Coleman – Pelagic Pursuits Costa Rica
“Go Fish”, Los Suenos Marina, Slip 12, Herradura, Puntarenas, CR
+506-4001-8430 (CR) (Let it ring)
info@pelagicpursuitscr.com (We respond FAST!)

Glock Fishing Underwater

Saving the reefs and getting a good meal– with a gun!

Consuming eighty per-cent of a reef’s edible baitfish in mere weeks and overpopulating like mad, the Lionfish is a deeply invasive species with no natural predators in the area– at least until now.

Here in this video, the crew with Go Fish Productions opted to go Lionfish hunting– and with a gun! They used nontoxic, lead-free ammuniton and ate what they caught, all while doing their best to preserve the reef and keep its more native inhabitants happy. Not a bad job, and it looks like fun!

Kudos to these guys for handling an invasive problem in true hunting-and-conservation spirit!

Source: Courtland Hunt Youtube, lonewolfdist.com

New Spin On Classic Lure

Field Testing Shows Rooster Tail Minnow Catches Multiple Species
By Scott Haugen

I dropped my rod tip toward the river and stripped out some line. I watched as my spinner quickly sank, sunlight bouncing off its bright, chrome body. Then I pulled the rod from side to side, eager to see the action of the blade.

The first time the author used the new Rooster Tail Minnow, he landed and released over 30 smallmouth bass on it in less than two hours. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

The first time the author used the new Rooster Tail Minnow, he landed and released over 30 smallmouth bass on it in less than two hours. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

It took little speed to set the blade in motion, and soon an impressive swath of light reflected to the sides of the spinner. As I prepared to pull the spinner from the water and make my first cast with it, a smallmouth bass shot out from behind a rock and followed the lure. I kept the spinner in the water, now drawing figure eights with it, like I’d done before to entice pike and coho salmon to bite. Soon more smallmouth followed it – then one hit.

The spinner I was using for the first time was the new Rooster Tail Minnow. By day’s end, I’d catch and release over 50 smallmouth, most having fallen to the Rooster Tail. The biggest smallie of the day was caught on this spinner, and just like that, I was eager to try this presentation elsewhere.

A GENERATIONAL LURE
The original Rooster Tail was crafted in the late 1940s and has established itself as one of the best all-around fish-catching spinners ever. I’ve caught a lot of fish in a lot of places over the years on that lure, and so after a summer and fall of fishing the Rooster Tail Minnow, I was even more impressed with the new product.

On my first smallmouth fishing experience with this spinner, river conditions were crystal clear. The same was true during summer fishing trips for rainbow trout in rivers, creeks, lakes and ponds. During these clear-water fishing trips, I was impressed by the interest fish showed in the highly reflective spinner. What impressed me more was how long the fish would follow the spinner and then attack it.

The details of the molded body – combined with the large eye – make for a very realistic, enticing simulation of a baitfish. Most of the time, when fish follow a spinner for any great distance, they pull away; it’s not so with the Rooster Tail Minnow. After following the lure and studying its details, fish hit this spinner more often than others I fished, including the original Rooster Tail.
CAUGHT ON FILM
Underwater video camera work helped me study the reaction of fish when they see this lure.

With the Rooster Tail Minnow’s intricate body details, there’s no doubt it was specifically designed to fish best in clear water. But as summer conditions led to algae blooms and moss growth, I was eager to try the new spinner in murkier environments.

The very first cast I made into an algae-infested pond resulted in a fat crappie. The next two casts also produced fine-sized crappie. In the course of an hour, I’d land bluegill and largemouth bass on the chartreuse-colored Rooster Tail Minnow.

As fall river conditions shifted from clear to turbid, I hit the water in search of rainbows and the spinner produced. Perhaps the most impressive display of effectiveness came last November. I fished a small lake that was shallow and muddy due to recent rains. In 18 inches of visibility, I hooked and landed a limit of five trout while standing on the bank – three on the silver/red Rooster Tail minnow, and two on the chartreuse one.

Even with the low visibility, the dime-bright body and spinner blade cast a halo of light that caught the attention of fish. Not only did this light-casting property impress me, the number of species that hit the lure did, too.
NEW LURE, NEW FISH

Even in turbid, dark waters, the author was impressed with how rainbow trout struck the new spinner in both river and lake settings. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

Even in turbid, dark waters, the author was impressed with how rainbow trout struck the new spinner in both river and lake settings. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

Having been an avid angler for 45 years, it never ceases to amaze me, the new innovations continually created to catch fish. The Rooster Tail Minnow is a fine example of ingenuity. I’m excited about this new lure, not only for my future fishing adventures but to see how it performs for fellow anglers around the country on multiple species.

As is the case with all fishing, when it comes to trying something new, give it a chance. Take your favorite standby lures but give the new stuff a chance to work before resorting to what you have confidence in. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the importance of trying new gear and thinking outside the box is key to becoming a better angler. CS
Editor’s note: For signed copies of Scott Haugen’s popular book, 300 Tips To More Salmon & Steelhead, send a check for $29.95 (free S&H) to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489, or visit scotthaugen.com.

Tough Day of Fishing?

Not compared to this girl

Yes, this girl isn’t dress down for a little shore fishing. Clad in a black dress and heels, she displays a fine form as she sits at the edge of a pond in a deck chair. But then it all quickly unravels.

All anglers have experienced this once – dropping things in the lake, breaking rods, and even falling in. But can this girl’s luck get any worse? Her reaction to it all does certainly take the cake.

Real or fake, you have to admit that clip is hilarious. If anything, she walked away with her head held high – just with one less cell phone, fishing pole, and chair.

Ahh, the joys of fishing. You gotta love it!

by Justin Hoffman revised by Calsports
Source: Videos Fishing Facebook

Is Pro Bass Fishing really all it’s cracked up to be?

If you’re into bass fishing or follow pro fishing, there are some derogatory comments about the sport from the “haters”. Enter pro angler Fat Cat Newton rattling off in this video in response to the subject.

Video Transcript

“Hey what’s shakin’? Uh. Bass fishin’. Professional Bass fishin’ is stupid. It’s just a joke. You’ve got a buncha guys who get out there in these jersies with a buncha sponsors and stuff on and all painted up in these boats with all different colors and names on ’em, and they just run around in these public waters, all to catch fish– just to throw the fish back! It doesn’t make any sense to me why you’d spend all that money just to catch the fish and throw them back. It’s stupid, what a joke! Wish I could fish [indistinguishable]

That’s somethin’ a lot of us hear from different people. I’m sure you guys’ve heard it, I know I’ve heard it, and uh-

To these people that think professional fishin’ is not a professional sport, bless your heart. Apparently you’ve never been across the water runnin’ about seventy-sixty miles an hour makin’ that long run, when the weatherman says ‘ah the wind’s gonna blow about five to ten miles an hour’ you get out there there’s thirty-four mile-an-hour gusts, you got three or four foot swells, and you’re tryin’ to run across that choppy, you’re gettin’ soakin’ wet in thirty-five, forty degree weather, and you’re gettin’ your GUTS beat out, literally you gotta stop to push your guts back up inside of you. It feels like you just got sacked by Brian Robinson in the back field. And guess what? you finally make that long run, and you’re hurtin’ and you get there ‘Yeah I finally made the run to where I wanna fish at’, and there’s Terrance or Bobby or Willie, who knows who’s gonna be there, because you’re on public water. You pull up and it’s Sappy McGillacutty fishin’ for crappie or somethin’, and he’s got a spinner rod upside-down, ‘cuz he don’t know no better. That’s what you gotta deal with when you’re a professional fisherman. ‘cuz you’re always fishin’ on public. Water. It’s always public. You never know what’cher gonna run into. It isn’t like Dale Junior leadin’ the Daytona Five-hundred. He’s leadin’ it, boom, you got two laps to go. He doesn’t have to worry about Roddy Burns comin’ outta the parking lot through the gate, gettin’ onto the track tryin’ to race with the big boys. It doesn’t happen, it doesn’t work that way. And a fella doesn’t have to worry about it in the superbowl, another team or y’know, the parks ‘n rec tryin’ ta come up and say ‘no we reserved the field for this time’. It doesn’t happen. It’s not public.

Professional bass fishin’ is always at the public’s mercy. These guys pay- Professional bass fishers pays anywhere from twenty-five thousand to forty-five thousand dollars a year to fish a tournament trail, dependin’ on what trail they’re fishin’. They fish for over a hundred-thousand dollars a tournament, a lot of ’em. S’ a lotta money. And when you gotta worry about Sappy McGillacutty bein’ on your hole when you get there, these guys are goin’ eight-nine months outta the year, these guys are travelin’, a lotta money goes into this stuff and a lot of it comes outta their pockets.

Some ‘a the folks out there, when they think of professional bass fishin’, They’re probably thinkin’ about a ten-foot john boat, a cooler fulla beer, and two dudes Terrance and Willy out there, gettin’ drunk tryin’ catchin; Brim (?). But it ain’t like that, you know what I mean? I ain’t got nothin’ against that life, that’s what I’m talkin’ about when I talk about when the time is right.

There are scholarships for bass fishin’. That’s right, Scholarships for Bass Fishin’. Why would you not want to get your kid off that gamer console and raise ’em on the water with a fishin’ pole? Why would you not wanna put him on a tacklebox, get him off the Xbox? Let your kid fish, he could get a scholarship! Be a professional bass fisher! Why would you not want that?

But for professional Bass fishin– there goes Terrance right there! They got the boat loaded up, they’re goin’ after those sippy holes, see what they can catch. The old sun of a gun, I hope Willie ain’t drivin’. He’s been goin’ at that sauce the past three or four days. I caught him right there in the yard, cuttin’ grass on the other day, it was three foot ‘a snow on the ground. He don’t know no better.

But professional Bass Fishin? These dudes are machines. At least like ninty percent of ’em. There’s a few of ’em that, y’know, about that beer gut ‘n butt crack life, but they can still catch ’em, they can still cast. It ain’t no joke out there, you gotta understand, these boys ‘r fishin’ three or four days at a time. They tryin’ catchin’ five fish by three O-clock and it’s holdin’ ’em there eight hours a day, standin’ up, up ‘n down, up ‘n down, You talkin’ about a thousand, two thousand casts a day, these dudes are machines.

They don’t have a team to rely on, like all these other professional sportsmen do. It’s just you, you’re out there. They don’t have a pit crew. They’ve got guys that help them out, yeah, but when you’re on the water, it’s just you. That’s professional Bass fishin’. That’s why it’s one of the greatest sports on this Earth, that’s why I love fishin’, and if you don’t love fishin’, hey, I hope you like Roller bladin’! I hope you like Crochetin’! I hope you enjoy watchin’ Teen Mom, I hope you like all that stuff. I don’t! I like Fishin’! Fat Cat Newton, I’m gone.

Excerpt from Outdoors:

“I still don’t quite see the point in being a “hater.” It makes less sense that professional bass fishing. These tournament trails have their place in advocating for better fisheries and producing economic opportunities, often in rural, poverty stricken areas where it can potentially bring momentary financial relief to the community. On top of that, some of the more successful anglers get to fish for a living while the rest of us have to keep our day jobs, and I think that bothers the “haters.” What do you think? ”

by Randall Bonner revised by CalSports
Source: Fat Cat Newton Facebook

Piranha Of The Surf

Small but Feisty, Barred Surf Perch provide great Fishing action on the California coast

By Tim E. Hovey

The end of February is transition time around the Hovey home. Hunting season is winding down, school breaks are over and a seasonal change is in the air.

While the largest ones can reach 2 pounds, the average barred surf perch weighs about a pound and can be a challenge on light tackle. (TIM E. HOVEY)

While the largest ones can reach 2 pounds, the average barred surf perch weighs about a pound and can be a challenge on light tackle. (TIM E. HOVEY)

As the days get longer, I start dusting off the fishing rods and think about walking the beach and casting the shore. My grandfather taught me to fish when I was about 5, and from then on, whenever my family was around water, I wanted to know what was swimming below the surface. I gradually accumulated better gear and more experience and started fishing every chance I got.
As a boy, I’d spend summers down at the beach, fishing from the pier and the shore. When eating fish were caught, I’d string them up, load them up in my backpack and ride my bike home. With some help from my mom, we’d fillet up the catch and she’d cook them for

While spinning gear works fine for casting for perch, Tim Hovey prefers a baitcasting setup. The way the line comes out of the reel and over his fingers provides a good feel for what’s going on with his bait. (TIM E. HOVEY)

While spinning gear works fine for casting for perch, Tim Hovey prefers a baitcasting setup. The way the line comes out of the reel and over his fingers provides a good feel for what’s going on with his bait. (TIM E. HOVEY)

dinner. I can still remember feeling an immense amount of pride at being able to bring home food for my family with little more than a cheap rod and fresh bait I’d peel from the rocks down at the surf.
When I had kids of my own, I made sure I exposed them to the thrills and the bounty available to anyone willing to catch some bait and toss a line down at the  beach. Probably one of my biggest thrills was watching  my daughters’ faces as they caught their first fish in the surf and learned how to fish down by the shore.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of fishing in some amazing places. I’ve chased dorado in Baja, big game fish in the open ocean, monster kelp bass in the near shore kelp beds and freshwater species from trout to catfish. If it swims and can be caught, I’ve tried to catch it.
Of all the different types of fishing available to a Western angler, one of my favorite things to do is to walk the shores and  cast into the waves for barred  surf perch. I have been walking the Southern California beaches for over 40 years, and to me, nothing is more relaxing.

HIT THE SAND 

The key to catching surf perch is working areas of rough bottom during tidal movements. Waves and current push fish forage out of the rocks and sand. (TIM E. HOVEY)

The key to catching surf perch is working areas of rough bottom during tidal movements. Waves and current push fish forage out of the rocks and sand. (TIM E. HOVEY)

The beaches I fish are a few steps from where you can park and, except for the drive, a quick perch session is only a cast away. As long as the tide is moving, I’ll walk the beach and try my luck. During this time of year, fishing gear and a rod are always in the back of my truck.
Using a simple Carolina rig applied with sand crabs, plastic  grubs or a Berkley bait, I’ll search the shore for what I call watery chaos. I like to fish in areas where the waves are disruptive and not uniform, places where the structure of the beach or submerged rocks agitate the water, churning up the sand. In these disturbed spots, the surf will kick up all sorts of food items, which attracts fish.
When I find these target areas, I’ll figure out what the surf is doing and cast into the moving water, so that the wave action washes my bait into the agitation zone. Bites can be quick and aggressive, so maintaining a tight line is important.
While this type of fishing lends itself to spinning gear, I love my baitcasters. Understanding what’s happening at the end of your line is the key to catching any fish, and I find I can do this more successfully with my bait-cast reel using a technique I learned long ago.

Grab your gear and find a quiet spot along the beach; there’s a good chance surf perch will be a short cast from your spot. (TIM E. HOVEY)

Grab your gear and find a quiet spot along the beach; there’s a good chance surf perch will be a short cast from your spot. (TIM E. HOVEY)

Holding the rod just above the reel with my left hand,  I run the line under my thumb and over my index finger. This gives me a direct connection with anything occurring at the end of the line.
Some species of fish will inhale a lure or bait, and then quickly spit it out before the hook is set. Using this method, I’m actually able to feel subtle changes in the bait action, in my opinion, allowing me to catch more fish.

FROM SURF TO SKILLET
Barred surf perch are feisty fish, and large ones can weigh a couple of pounds. During a peak bite, the average fish are about a pound and can be a challenge on light tackle. They are abundant, and if you can find where they’re gathered, the action can be consistent.

Jessica Hovey holds a nice surf perch. Catch-and-release anglers can have a blast when these fish are in the mood to bite. (TIM E. HOVEY)

Jessica Hovey holds a nice surf perch. Catch-and-release anglers can have a blast when these fish are in the mood to bite. (TIM E. HOVEY)

Surf perch are members of the Embioticidae family, which means they give birth to live young. During the spring and summer, it isn’t unusual to catch a very pregnant female – its swollen belly may hold as many as 20 little fish.
While I really enjoy catching my family’s dinner at the shore, I have a couple of self-imposed rules about what I bring home when targeting barred surf perch.
A majority of the time I release everything I catch when I fish down at the shore. However, I still love eating fish, and on occasion, I’ll save a few larger perch for the frying pan. These fish have a white, tender flesh that is perfect for frying or baking.
When I’m catching perch for dinner, I only take the  males or larger females that have already birthed their young. If there’s any question about whether the fish is pregnant or not, it gets released.
I also take only what my family and I will eat that day (six will provide a meal for a family of four). I never freeze fillets or bring home more than I need. My favorite way to cook them is to dip the

This is the reward after a day of catching barred surf perch along the coast. They may be rather small but they are delicious to eat. (TIM E. HOVEY)

This is the reward after a day of catching barred surf perch along the coast. They may be rather small but they are delicious to eat. (TIM E. HOVEY)

fillets in egg and then lightly roll them in flour. After a quick deep fry on both sides I serve them with fresh lemon slices and tarter sauce.
As I get older, I find that I fish for far different reasons  now than when I was younger. For the first half of my  life, fishing of any sort was my passion, bordering on an obsession. I’d plan trips all over and pursue any species that was worth catching.
Now, I fish for peace and quiet. When I sort through the tackle and grab a rod, I begin to relax. At the beach, any stress melts away in the pursuit of the feisty surf perch. When the season shifts to fishing, there’s no place I’d rather be than down at the shore, catching the piranha of the surf.

Opening Act Tough To Call

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT NEXT MONTH FOR THE SIERRA TROUT OPENER? FIRST THINGS FIRST, CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST, THEN GET SOME BAIT
By Mike Stevens

The best Eastern Sierra trout anglers are not always certain of what the conditions will be like on opening  day of the general trout season (April 30), but they are always aware of that uncertainty.
Last year it snowed and “blowed” on opening day. Two years ago, 8 inches of snow was predicted on the day prior, and 36 inches came crashing down. Three years ago it was so warm it may have well been the Fourth of July.

Convict Lake’s high elevation means the April 30 trout opener could be sunny and warm, but also maybe snowy like the last two years. No matter the weather, expect big crowds. (MIKE STEVENS)

Convict Lake’s high elevation means the April 30 trout opener could be sunny and warm, but also maybe snowy like the last two years. No matter the weather, expect big crowds. (MIKE STEVENS)

If that pattern – completely different weather in three consecutive openers – continues, I suppose all that’s left is pouring rain. While it’s impossible to predict even a week prior to that last Saturday in April, a wet “Fishmas” certainly is more possible this year than ever, thanks that that El Niño kid.
Of course, there is no science to suggest that would be the case, and it’s always a roll of the dice. But it would be funny if trouters were hit by something altogether different four years in a row.
The most successful opening-day trout anglers are ready for all of the above, and they adjust the game plan based on whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

PREPARE FOR THE WORST  
If it is actually snowing on opening day,  like last year, being prepared for a long  day of exposure should be priority number one. Once you are layered up from head to toe with plenty of chemical handwarmers (inexpensive lifesavers), a lot of how the day turns out is determined on what area of the Eastern Sierra you are targeting. For most attendees at the opener, this is known way ahead of time, so that really isn’t something that is going to change unless the conditions are insane, for most people anyway.

Crowley Lake gets probably the most fishing pressure for the trout opener, but there is still plenty of shoreline for “bank robbers” to pick a spot and net a trout on April 30. (MIKE STEVENS)

Crowley Lake gets probably the most fishing pressure for the trout opener, but there is still plenty of shoreline for “bank robbers” to pick a spot and net a trout on April 30. (MIKE STEVENS)

For those who fish creeks, they are usually productive regardless of the conditions. The water will be frigid, so bait presentations like split-shotted nightcrawlers, crickets or salmon eggs that can be accurately cast to fishy locations and then fished slowly are a great way to go. Plastics like minijigs, trout worms and plastic eggs, with or without scent added, can be fished the same way, and quite effectively. If you think of it as the ultralight, moving-water version of “flippin” for bass, you’re in the ballpark. This technique will actually work in all fishable creeks in late April.
The most popular moving-water location to fish on opening day is the confluence of the South and Middle Forks of Bishop Creek, and one semi-secret factoid about that spot -and actually the entire Bishop Creek Canyon, for that matter – is it lies  in Inyo County, where opening day starts at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday (and yes, there are people who bundle up, throw a headlamp on and fish that early in the morning). Convict Creek below Convict Lake and Rush Creek between Silver and Grant Lakes in the June Lake Loop are also popular opening-day creeks for anglers.
The miles of wide-open shoreline at Crowley Lake – which is likely statistically the most popular watershed  for the trout opener – mean plenty of shoreline for bank robbers to choose from, but it also means there is nary a tree shielding them from the elements. There is some shelter to be had in the coves around the Fish Camp at South Landing, especially in the easily accessed Whiskey Bay, where the bank is a good 20 feet lower than the parking area behind

it and down and out of the wind. There will be a lot of anglers down there, but there is always elbow room on the east side of the cove. If you need more space, make your way to the other coves toward the east end of the lake.
Boaters at Crowley tend to fish from larger craft than your average 15-foot rental boat, so flat-line or leadcore trolling with Tasmanian Devils, Owner Cultivas, Rapalas or Needlefish should never be pushed aside due to the elements. Just make sure your boat, and the amount of people in it, are capable of handling some weather.
Crowley Lake, as much as any of  the bigger lakes on the east side, can take the full blast of hard Eastern Sierra winds, and legitimate wind waves can form in bigger lakes.

Layered up for 2015’s whiteout opener, author Mike Stevens managed to bring in this Lake Mamie trout. If the fish aren’t biting at traditional locations due to weather conditions or whatever, anglers should keep an open mind about switching spots. (MIKE STEVENS)

Layered up for 2015’s whiteout opener, author
Mike Stevens managed to bring in this Lake Mamie trout. If the fish aren’t biting at traditional locations due to weather conditions or whatever, anglers should keep an open mind about switching spots. (MIKE STEVENS)

WEATHER CONDITIONS DICTATE OPTIONS 
The thing about snow in the Sierra is it’s not always snow on the day you are fishing, or even the day or two before. The weather in the entire week or two leading up to opening day can factor in to what options are available.
The Mammoth Lakes Basin is a perfect example of this. Two Aprils  ago, when 3 feet of snow fell in some places on Fishmas Eve, Lake Mary Road leading up to the Basin was covered in white stuff, and there was no way to get anywhere near the lakes. In all fairness, they were probably at least partially covered in ice anyway, but that took away as many as four (depending on how far up the road you can get even if the lower lakes are open) angling options.
Last year, when it snowed during  the first day of fishing, the road was wide open all the way past Lake Mary to just beyond Lake Mamie. That, my trouthead friends, is a game changer. The thing is, the majority of people in the area on opening weekend are in Bishop Creek Canyon, Crowley or Convict Lake, or the June Lake Loop, with a handful more setting up in the Bridgeport area. When the Mammoth Lakes Basin is accessible, it is fully stocked, and it is an absolute ghost town.
I was covering the goings on at Convict and Crowley in particular, and when moving from one to the other I checked my phone and saw a text message from my brother that  said “wide open at Mamie.” I had about an hour before the weigh-in for a kid’s derby at Crowley that I needed to get photos of, and it would take me 20 minutes to get to the basin, and another 20 to get back.
So of course, I jerked the wheel to the left when I hit 395 and charged up the mountain, saw my dad’s truck and literally followed footsteps in the snow to where he and my brother were absolutely teeing off on 2- to-5-pound rainbows.
They had caught and released 20 each by the time I got there, and I figured I had about a 15-minute window to chuck my Thomas Buoyant before flying back down to Crowley. I fired away and managed to land six trout of my own in that size range before I had to take off.

Snow was also on the ground at Mammoth Creek on 2014’s opener. What will next month bring? Who knows, but we’d go prepared for everything! (MIKE STEVENS)

Snow was also on the ground at Mammoth Creek on 2014’s opener. What will next month bring? Who knows, but we’d go prepared for everything! (MIKE STEVENS)

There was no one else around, and my dad and brother said they saw maybe two groups at Mary and one down at Twin when they did a lap on the way out. Given the crowds at the more popular opener spots, the Mammoth Lakes Basin being open is a big deal and it is something that you should monitor as the last weekend in April approaches.

OUTSIDE-THE-BOX TIPS
The following quick-hitters will help you get the most out of your trip.

Sleep in: I’m not talking about rolling out of the rack at 10 a.m., but you certainly don’t have to be out there at the crack of dawn. Using Crowley as an example, there will be cars lined up for hours before the gate opens, then it’s a mad dash to park, launch or find a spot on the bank with a mob of other people. The best bite over the last three years has been between 8 and 11 a.m. for shore guys, and the troll bite lasts all day long. Colleagues covering all the other spots have also indicated that this is the case in their area of coverage. If anything, stay out later. Most people call it a day in the very early afternoon, so you have a lot of room to operate if you fish until dark.

Go a day or two early: While the general trout season opens on the last Saturday in April, trout lakes and streams between Bishop and Lone Pine have been open for a while already, and they are largely untouched as well. Starting from the bottom up, the way we do it on Thursday and Friday before the opener is we simply head west into the mountains wherever we see those “fishing that way” road signs and check it out. The creeks west of Lone Pine, Big Pine and Independence are all stocked, and the campgrounds – the areas that typically have the best fish-holding holes – are barely occupied, if not vacant. Heading east from those same towns will put you on the Lower Owens River, where you can catch anything from stocked trout and big browns to panfish and bass.

Slow it down: Unfortunately, moving around throwing and grinding metal isn’t going to work in the chilly April water like it does in the summer. Bait guys really do the best, as  far as numbers, and trolling almost always sticks the biggest fish caught that weekend. If you have sworn off bait, reach for plastics like trout worms, minijigs, grubs or even little trout swimbaits. Fish them slowly on a leadhead; drop-shotting them is also deadly. Jigs 5 feet under a bobber when there is some chop on the water are also money. Fishing a fly-and-bubble is also a great way to get after it, and a streamer like Woolly Buggers or Matukas on a slow retrieve is the best technique this time of year. I am assuming that that wide-open bite on Buoyants at Mamie was the  exception, not the rule. But clearly  it happens, so if you can’t help but chuck some metal just to see, keep them as slow as you can stand.

For the love of God, mix it up, people!: A few things that I have discovered while covering the Eastern Sierra trout opener will never cease boggling the mind: There are families who have been fishing the opener for decades, and sometimes I will run into families with three or more generations represented right there on the bank. That is quite cool, and I think it’s funny that I see the same families in the same spots every year. This plays out at Crowley, Convict, throughout the June Lake Loop, and beyond. I mean, I dig the whole tradition aspect of it, but if it’s not happening at your family’s signature lake, load up the wagons and try somewhere else this opening day.

Lakes still here in May, June …: The last thing is, most people I talk to come for the opener, and that’s it – see you next year! They come when the weather is the most unpredictable, the crowds are as heavy as they get, the entire backcountry is frozen, Tioga Pass is closed, trout are sluggish and even some drive-up lakes are inaccessible – and that’s just dumb. I  find myself begging them to come up in a month or three, and I sell it hard But at least they are getting up there.

The one thing that opening weekend is every year, and you can count on it, is that it’s always a spectacle.