Mono County Fisheries Ready For Trout Opener

Photo by Mono County Tourism.

The statewide trout opener is set for Saturday, so here’s a short preview of what lakes and rivers/creeks/streams might be worth checking out if you’re headed to the mountains (the weather forecast looks warm). This story is appearing in the April issue of California Sportsman:

By Chris Cocoles

It’s that time of year: Fishmas Day is approaching. 

Trout anglers have circled Saturday, April 27 on their calendars as the statewide general trout opener. The Eastern Sierra will be the most coveted destination, so expect Highway 395 to see lots of traffic bound for various lakes, rivers and creeks. 

“The bona fide trout fishing season is the last Saturday in April through November 15 every year,” says Jeff Simpson of the Mono County Economic Development, Tourism and Film Commission.

“This is when most waters in Mono County are open to anglers to fish for as many as five trout to catch and keep per day.”

Mono County Tourism photo
Sierra Drifters photo


In addition to plenty of wild and holdover trout from previous seasons, Mono County fisheries will be receiving plenty of trout plants  including private stockings of trophy-size fish – as anticipation grows for opening day.

“We plan on stocking all the major front country rivers and lakes with 600 pounds of 1½- to 3-pound rainbow trout before opening weekend,” Simpson says. “This is the year to come up for fishing on opening weekend.”

As usual, the most popular fisheries are expected to be Convict and Crowley Lakes. Good weather will likely create “combat fishing” conditions on the shoreline areas at both, but there will be plenty of opportunities and trout to cast for. 

“Crowley and Convict always have fantastic fishing on opening weekend,” Simpson says. “Mono County will be bringing a 600-pound load of Desert Springs (hatchery trout) a week before opening day, so expect to see plenty of big fish caught opening weekend.”

Simpson adds that the area’s early-season opportunities for trout anglers include the West Walker River, Bridgeport Reservoir, Twin Lakes in Bridgeport, Lundy Lake, and the June Lake Loop. 

“All will be stocked before the opener and should be ice-free,” Simpson says.  

Photo by Sierra Drifters


It hasn’t been as snowy and wet as in previous winters, but conditions look great for the late April opener. 

“Current reports have our snowpack well below the winter of two years ago. Although this winter was a bit warmer, we still anticipate most front country lakes along the 395 corridor to be open and ready for opening day,” Simpson says. “Our lakes, streams and reservoirs will be full with water all season long, but you’ll want to keep your eye out for high cfs during the runoff in early spring.”


You can head to Mono County throughout the summer and stumble onto a fishing derby or contest. But for early birds heading to the mountains on April 27 and shortly thereafter, there are plenty of derbies to enter. 

You can find a complete list of events on the Mono County website (, but here are some opening weekend events worth 

checking out:

• April 27: Fishmas Day Derby at Tom’s Place; 

• April 27: Monster Fish Contest at June Lake;

• April 27: Fred Hall and Convict Lake Cash Derby;

• April 27-28: Annett’s Mono Village Opening Weekend Fishing Derby at Twin Lakes in Bridgeport;

• April 27-Nov. 15: Bridgeport Locals Only Fishing Tournament at Bridgeport Reservoir. 

• April 28-June 16: Roundup at the Lake Spring Trout Derby at Convict Lake. CS