The official start to the fishing season in Mono County has been dubbed “Fishmas” because it’s the most wonderful time of the year for anglers. Another reason to celebrate: Mono County in partnership with Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Inyo County, has just released a new Fishing Map outlining top fishing destinations in the front country of both Inyo and Mono counties.
Mono County is well known as an exceptional trout-fishing destination, and the 2017 season, starting on April 29, is following a historical winter that will fill lakes and streams to levels that haven’t been seen in years.
“We are looking forward to the best opening day conditions since 2012, both in terms of the amount of fish being planted and the healthy water levels of our lakes,” said Jeff Simpson, Mono County’s economic development manager.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has planned 660,000 pounds in fish stocking allotments for Mono County and Inyo County, currently scheduled for every other week along with holidays and local events, according to James Erdman, an environmental scientist with the department.
In addition to CDFW’s allotments, Mono County plants 3,200 pounds of fish, with the majority of the six-to-nine-pound trophy trout arriving before opening day, and an additional 21,200 pounds of fish before the end of the season in the fall. In total over 675,000 pounds of fish are stocked in tandem with Mammoth Lakes, Inyo County, Bishop and private marinas and resorts along with the CDFW.
Some of the Mono County streams and lakes regularly stocked throughout the fishing season include Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin (which includes Twin, Mary, Mamie and George), the June Lake Loop (June, Gull, Silver and Grant), Saddlebag Lake, Lundy Lake, Big Virginia and Little Virginia Lakes, Twin Lakes in Bridgeport, Bridgeport Reservoir, Robinson Creek and the West Walker River. CDFW staff attempt to visit waters prior to opening day to generate a list (including photos) of waters that are ice free and accessible to fishermen. Please visit the CDFW website to find a list of open waters in Inyo and Mono counties. At the time of this release, the following fishing hotspots are thawed and road accessible: Crowley, Convict, June, Gull, Silver, and Grant lakes, Bridgeport Reservoir, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes in Bridgeport, the East Walker and West Walker rivers, as well as parts of the Lower Owens River.
Fishing Opener Events:
The official Mono County Fishing Opener kicks off on April 29with numerous events, derbies and festivities, including the classic Fishmas Day Celebration at Tom’s Place, Crowley Lake’s Big Fish Contest, Round-up at Convict Lake, the Monster Trout Contest in the June Lake Loop, and the 395 Big Fish Sierra Trout Opener.
More news from CDFW:
More CDFW fishing-related news shared by Erdman includes a new app and a “trout challenge.” CDFW has produced a new Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations application for smart phones. It is free and downloadable from the CDFW website. Essentially it tracks your current GPS location and will tell you the regulations of the water where you are standing and regulations for waters within a designated area or approximately a five-mile radius.
Another new offering from the CDFW is the Anglers Guide to the California Heritage Trout Challenge. This program encourages anglers to ‘Take the Challenge,’ explore new waters across the state, and appreciate the diverse recreational fishing opportunities California has to offer. By catching six different forms of California native trout from their historic drainages and photographing these fish, anglers can receive a colorful, personalized certificate featuring the art of renowned fish illustrator Joseph Tomelleri. The certificate will show six full-color images representing the trout caught, along with the dates and locations.
Note that with high water flows this year, it’s important to take caution, be extra careful and make safety a priority for any fishing pursuits this spring.
Located approximately 315 miles north of Los Angeles, and 280 miles east of San Francisco, Mono County accesses the east entrance to Yosemite National Park and beckons visitors in all seasons. The Eastern Sierra’s vast playground is an easily reached destination whether arriving by car on the all-weather US Highway 395, or taking advantage of convenient direct flights to Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH) on Alaska from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). US Highway 395, which traverses Mono County from north to south, is a State Designated Scenic Byway offering motorists tremendous vistas right from the steering wheel and countless side-roads, hiking trails, lakes, and roadside villages to explore. For more information or to request guides, visit MonoCounty.org or call 800-845-7922.