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Opening weekend trout fishing report

Don Quilici author photo,

By Don Quilici
04/23/15 -- This is my annual reminder that it’s almost time to have fun fishing in the Golden State once again. On Saturday, April 25 the 2015 fishing season will open for all applicable lakes, reservoirs, streams, creeks and rivers in the State of California.

That season will then remain open until Saturday, Nov. 15.

If you’re new to this area, here’s some information that can be useful if you would like to fish on that Opening Day or for the entire Opening Weekend:

High mountain passes are open for travel:
The near-to-total-lack of snow in the high country has resulted in Ebbetts, Kit Carson, Monitor and Sonora Passes being open to vehicle travel, which is unreal for this early in the year.

Some of the streams, creeks and rivers that will open are: The West Carson River, the East Carson River, the West Walker River, the East Walker River, the Little Walker River, the Truckee River, Bishop Creek, Buckeye Creek, Convict Creek, Red Creek, Robinson Creek, Rush Creek, et al, will open, just to name a few of many moving waters. However, be advised that many, if not all, of the creeks and rivers listed above have been adversely affected by our prolonged drought. You would be well advised to switch to lakes or reservoirs for the Opener.

The dam and water house at Bridgeport Reservoir. Photo by Elaine Quilici
The dam and water house at Bridgeport Reservoir. Photo by Elaine Quilici

Some of the lakes, reservoirs and ponds that will open are Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, Intake No. 2, June Lake Loop (Grant Lake, Gull Lake, June Lake and Silver Lake), Lundy Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin, North Lake, Sabrina Lake, South Lake, Upper Twin Lake and Lower Twin Lake, Virginia Lakes area and Weir Pond.

Convict Lake in the Fall, photo by Elaine Quilici
Convict Lake in the Fall, photo by Elaine Quilici

Lakes and reservoirs affected by the drought are Boca Reservoir, Bridgeport Reservoir, Grant Lake, South Lake and Stampede Reservoir are at or near record low levels.

Heck, even Lake Tahoe has dropped below its natural rim.

Best bet for fishing lakes and reservoirs
If you have a boat, a good choice will be either Upper Twin Lake or Lower Twin Lake, about 15 miles west of Bridgeport via a paved road.

The last two California state record brown trout (25+ pounds) came from each of those two lakes. And, who knows, with lots of luck (and a little bit of skill), you might be the one to break that record at either lake.

Try trolling with silver flashers and lures along the deep drop-offs on the back sides of both lakes.

You’ll have plenty of other boats and shore fishermen for company.

Huge crowds expected
If the weather is decent and warm, you can expect to encounter huge crowds of Opening Day and Opening Weekend fishermen all along the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, no matter where you go.

Part of the reason for the big crowds is that many of the waters in Inyo and Mono Counties will have been planted with thousands of rainbow trout by the Calif. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Also, some Alpine County waters will have been planted by the Alpine County Fish Commission, which receives its rainbow trout from a private hatchery in Susanville. Those trout can run up to 7-8-9 pounds.

So, there will be some nice trophies waiting for some lucky anglers.

If you do plan to fish any of those waters, don’t say that you weren’t warned about crowded conditions, both on shore and out on the water.

Roosevelt Lake in the Hoover Wilderness Area. Photo by Elaine Quilici
Roosevelt Lake in the Hoover Wilderness Area. Photo by Elaine Quilici

Walk-in waters that will open
The opening of the fishing season also means that hikers and backpackers will be able to fish at countless, backcountry lakes such as: Burro, East, Fremont, Gilman, Upper and Lower Hover, Lane, Nutter, Upper and Middle and Lower Par Value, Poore, Roosevelt, Secret and West, plus many others.

Davis Lake on a quiet summer day. Photo by Elaine Quilici
Davis Lake on a quiet summer day. Photo by Elaine Quilici

If you go on Opening Day or for the Opening Weekend, good luck to you.

No matter where you go, it’ll be fun to be fishing again in the Golden State.

Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you where Elaine and I will be on the 2015 Opening Day of the California fishing season.

If he grins and says, "They are planning to fish at Davis Lake (north of Portola), which is open year-round and does not attract big Opening Day hordes of fishermen," he could be one of our regular fishing partners.

Don Quilici was Outdoors Editor for the Nevada Appeal newspaper in Carson City for 22+ years, where he wrote a weekly “Outdoors" page every Thursday. On March 21, 2006, he was honored by Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn with a proclamation of “Don Quilici Day” for his long-time commitment to the conservation of Nevada's wildlife. He has backpacked extensively in the Sierra Nevada Mountains all the way from the Lake Tahoe area to the Mt. Whitney area. He has hunted big game in Nevada (antelope, deer, elk, Rocky Mountain Goat), California (deer), Oregon (elk) and Idaho (deer) and has fished in Alaska, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, plus British Columbia and the Yukon in Canada. He can be reached via email at or at 775-882-4372. Quilici’s articles are posted with permission of

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